Best Buddies is a nonprofit organization dedicated to enhancing the lives of people with intellectual disabilities by providing opportunities for one-on-one friendships and integrated employment. Founded in 1989 by Anthony K. Shriver, Best Buddies is a vibrant, international organization that has grown from one original chapter to more than 1,000 middle school, high school, and college campuses across the country and internationally. The Baldwin Service Center is a center for adults with mild to moderate disabilities. This group has about 30-40 GC&SU students who are a part of this group. Each college student is paired up with an individual who has developmental disability at the Baldwin Service Center. The buddy pair meets at least once or twice a month and then they have group monthly activities that they all participate in.
Some volunteers take the consumers (which is what the adults with developmental disabilities are called at the Baldwin County Service Center) and buddies bowling. They have decorated glass bowls for the disabilities banquet in October. They have played bingo with the consumers and they have helped with their annual Valentine’s Dance. They also made Easter baskets for foster children and filled Christmas boxes for children in third world countries. In addition, they have had a team for Relay for Life and held a raffle at basketball games and attended the games with the consumers. They assisted in decorating the front campus for Hanging of the Greens and were recognized in the Macon Telegraph for their volunteer work. They have helped with a Volunteer Appreciation Dinner hosted by the Baldwin Service Center.
Best Buddies is also part of the college’s newly formed No Boundaries Club, which is an umbrella organization for student organizations that work with disabilities issues. This group will also be involved with the new Kids On The Block puppet shows that will go into local elementary schools to educate third graders on disabilities issues and awareness programs. Best Buddies truly are making a difference on and off campus.