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posted: Mon, Sep 26th, 2016

Making buddies that last a lifetime: Best Buddies receives NJ recognition

Receiving statewide recognition, the Mount Olive Best Buddies Club was acknowledged as the best chapter out of all New Jersey middle and high school Best Buddies chapters.

Best Buddies, a program in which students can make one-on-one friendships with other students with intellectual disabilities, is advised at MOHS by Mrs. Gilbert and assisted by Mrs. Scillia. Speaking of the program, Mrs. Gilbert said, "I think the students who are mentors have done great. They reach out to their buddies to hang out. They call, text, and eat lunch together."

The program focuses on community involvement. Some of the events Best Buddies runs each year are picnics, a ball, a friendship walk, the Thanksgiving Feast, and various other field trips that help students give back in the community.

Mrs. Gilbert went on to say that the current group of officers she has now is a great group of leaders. The president is senior Gabrielle Wade, the  vice president is junior Amber Gonzales, the secretary is senior Lauren Tamoosh, and the treasurer is sophomore Rebecca Gilbert.

Gabrielle received the award on behalf of the chapter at the Annual Leadership Conference in Indiana this past summer. At the awards ceremony, Gabrielle received the award from Anthony Schriver, the founder of Best Buddies International. The award, which is proudly on display in the principal's office, can be seen pictured below.

Gabrielle, who has been involved with the Best Buddies program since middle school, said she loves working with these students and wants to be a Special Education teacher after college. Gabrielle said, "This is one of the friendliest clubs you'll ever join!"

Similarly, Lauren has been involved with the organization since sixth grade and has had a number of buddies through the years. Lauren's most recent buddy moved, but she still stays in touch with her long distance. Lauren said working with the Best Buddies program has helped her develop patience and teaches her how to help the students. She, like Gabrielle, wants to be a teacher.

Amber, who has been a member of Best Buddies since seventh grade, said she might want to work with kids one day. Her own experiences with her brother who has a mental disability has helped prepare her for a potential career helping others.

Rebecca has been involved with Best Buddies her whole life, but especially since entering middle school. She said, "I like working with the students because I get to know them one-on-one and see how cool they are."

Mrs. Gilbert concluded by saying, "In the organization you can't tell the difference between the disabled and the nondisabled!"

Congratulations to the Mount Olive Best Buddies chapter on this huge accomplishment!

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Mount Olive High School
18 Corey Road Flanders, NJ 07836
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Phone: 973.927.2208 Fax: 973.927.2204

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