Best Buddies launches as new club

Club becomes rising success in advocating for inclusivity and positivity while also providing fun activities.


Marilyn Ashley '25

The Best Buddies club meets for an afternoon of games during fifth block on Jan. 25.

Evelynn Lin '25, Reporter

From decorating gingerbread houses, to playing fun games, to taking a polar plunge, Best Buddies is nuturing new friendships. 

Founded and advised by special education teacher Sarah Holt, Best Buddies is a club based on the international Best Buddies organization that works to build friendships among the general population and those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. 

Since its start, Best Buddies has had an impact on all students involved, nourishing connections that otherwise might not happen. So far, the club has met to build gingerbread houses together, enjoy an afternoon of games, and fundraise for the Special Olympics Polar Plunge. 

“I feel like it’s just creating new opportunities for people and providing a scenario that someone wouldn’t normally encounter and opening that possibility,” Best Buddies president junior Casey Conway said. 

It has especially influenced the students with disabilities, who are often left out of student body activities, to get more involved in the school’s culture. 

“I know that there are other opportunities out there for my students to get involved, but it isn’t always as easy,” Holt said. “I think this club, being specifically the focus of those friendships, is really nice to see because they’re more likely to attend, and they’re more likely to have the support that they need when they’re attending. And then hopefully, that will lead to further involvement, to getting invited to go to other things.” 

I think that the differences that we have are what make us unique, what makes us individuals, and I think that sharing that with each other, is really important and meaningful to everybody.”

— Ms. Sarah Holt

The club has worked to advocate for more inclusivity in the Haven community and the power of differences in every individual. 

 “I think it’s important to celebrate differences. I think that the differences that we have are what make us unique, what makes us individuals, and I think that sharing that with each other, is really important and meaningful to everybody,” Holt said. 

Holt believes that the immense amount of support and diversity of its members in Best Buddies has helped unite a student body that has become more split than ever before. 

“There are all different types of students—not just my students who have disabilities, but the kids who don’t—who are coming in, all have very different lives… maybe different friend groups… so it’s really nice for everybody to kind of come together and be getting along and working towards a common goal,” she said. 

Best Buddies has also been a hot spot for friends to meet.

“In Best Buddies… I got to see a friend that I was friends with in cooking class together,” sophomore Buddy Director Kieran Smalley said. “It was so nice to see her for the first time since we first met each other.” 

There are many things being planned for the future of Best Buddies, such as a fundraiser and a match-up activity that connects disabled and non-disabled peers together to form friendships

The leadership team also hopes to work toward hosting fun events outside the school building, like a bowling night or a zoo visit, and continuing to grow and gain more members as well. 

“I think, for anyone who is thinking about joining, I would really recommend it. It’s just really overall a lot of fun, and we do really fun things. It’s a great time,” Conway said.