The Help Group is proud to partner with Best Buddies International, Los Angeles chapter dedicated to creating opportunities for meaningful one-to-one friendships for youth with and without special needs.

Initiated during the pandemic, two classrooms at Bridgeport High School began participating in virtual visits with students at The Buckley School and established a new Best Buddies chapter together. For nearly a year, students have been meeting virtually during their lunchtime to socialize and foster new friendships with the guidance of the Best Buddies program. Most recently, the chapter met in person at The Buckley School for an exciting afternoon of fun.

“The students at Buckley are the essence of everything we would want Best Buddies to be – warm, welcoming, fun and kind young people,” shared Sue Anne Kaples, Head of School at Bridgeport. “We are so grateful to have established this connection for our students and to continue to foster these budding friendships.”

Best Buddies introduces students in general education and special education to each other through a mutually enriching club experience. The goal is for a diverse group of friends to socialize together in an inclusive, encouraging and friendly space.

These “buddy pairs” spend time together during club meetings, which is intended to allow new friends the opportunity to meet and grow their friendship, all while teaching leadership skills and providing opportunities for students to connect and engage in games, activities and events together.

The Help Group would like to acknowledge Elika Shirazi at The Buckley School for all of her efforts as student lead in the Best Buddies chapter, along with Buckley teacher organizers Mitch Kohn and Sonia Capretta and Help Group teacher organizers Cynthia Mousa, Danielle Randolph and Maurine Okhoya. Our thanks to Grace Goldman, Program Manager, Mission Expansion, Best Buddies International, California State Headquarters for initiating the Best Buddies connection.