Best Buddies bounces back


LHS Best Buddies

The 2020 Best Buddies bake sale was one of the last events held by the club before COVID-19.

Emma Forster, News Editor

Everyone at LHS knows the 500 hallway in A-Wing houses the RISE Program, a learning course with curriculum designed for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities. RISE is greatly beneficial for its participants, but the separate curriculum, classrooms and even area of the school mean that many students in the RISE Program lack opportunities to make friends at school. A well known club, Best Buddies, is designed to dissolve this separation. 

The Best Buddies International website describes the organization as a non-profit dedicated to creating “opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment, leadership development and inclusive living for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.” At LHS, that means partnering up a student in general education and a student with an intellectual or developmental disability. The goal of this pairing is to give each student someone they can count on and to ensure they will never feel alone during the school day.

“We just want to make everyone feel welcome at Lincoln, whether you’re a mentor or a best buddy,” said LHS junior and Best Buddies president, Joe Osmundson. “Just the fact that everyone can come to Lincoln and feel welcomed and know they have friends.”

Best Buddies has become an integral part of the LHS community, but COVID-19 made any regular meetings or events impossible during the 2020-21 school year. The club is back in full swing this year, however. Best Buddies had their first meeting of the year at the beginning of October and are already planning their first event. 

“We are looking forward to our Halloween party, which will be really fun,” said Osmundson. “[We are also looking forward to] pairing up students with a best buddy and just starting the school year off right.”

Without COVID-19 as a barrier to Best Buddies’ activities, the club and its members are ready to start improving LHS once again, with a hope of making a noticeable impact this school year. 

“We want to make [LHS] the most welcoming high school and I think we will do a good job at that,” said Osmundson. 

Best Buddies, especially after the past year off, is looking for more members to expand its impact and reach more of LHS. The club meets once or twice a month, usually in Jared Jansen’s room.

“It’s never too late to join Best Buddies, so if anyone is interested they can talk to Trey Naasz or me,” said Osmundson. 

Continuing Best Buddies is crucial to inclusion and the preservation of a welcoming environment at LHS. Those involved in Best Buddies are excited to begin not only making new friends, but also making an impact once again. 

“Everyone wins in this scenario, with Best Buddies. It is a great program to be involved in,” said Osmundson.