This July, at the annual Best Buddies conference held in Indiana, the RCS Middle School was awarded the Top Middle School in New York State title for their efforts to successfully achieve the Best Buddies mission. Award winners were chosen based on quality of one-to-one friendships, group outings, chapter involvement, community awareness and chapter communication. RCS Middle School was seen as going above and beyond in each of these areas, working to change lives one friendship at a time.
The Best Buddies group at RCS Middle School will be honored with a plaque from their lead program manager, Gabby Fisher, some time in the fall.
Maria Semenick, Daria Carusone, Patty Stockman and Pam Ginder are the RCS MS advisors for Best Buddies, and after establishing the group in 2011, have spent the past five years making the program a great success with RCS students. Congrats to the entire group!
The RCS Middle School Best Buddies Association is where students with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities are paired together to become “buddies.” The program introduces students to a new way of meeting their peers, and helps students of all abilities socialize with each other. Among numerous group outings, the groups participate in an annual Friendship Walk in the Capital Region and hold an annual fundraiser at RCS called Pins & Rims, which is a game that combines basketball, dodgeball and bowling.
Best Buddies is a non-profit organization established in 1989 by Anthony Kennedy Shriver. The mission of Best Buddies is to establish a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. In middle schools, Best Buddies operates as a student-run friendship club, which creates buddy pairs between students with and without disabilities.