Friends encourage and inspire one another, laugh together, and create memories. Finding a Best Buddy and someone who will clap for you is truly admirable.
Jack Dunn, 16, is a junior as well as the current President of Best Buddies Whitman-Hanson Regional High School chapter.
His Best Buddy Riley Miller has reached a milestone of 19,000 cans and bottles that he collected on his own giving the proceeds back to his club.
Dunn wanted to highlight his friend of two years and his consistent efforts to be a positive influence in the club.
Riley who has Down syndrome is in the post-graduate program at Whitman-Hanson. Can donation fundraisers have been created over the last year with the help of Miller’s dad through the local chapter of Rockland-Hanson Rotary Club. The cans were recycled and the monies given back to the WH Best Buddies.
Best Buddies is a national nonprofit program which pairs students with intellectual disabilities who attend the high school such as Riley and Jack and as Dunn said “makes them a forever friend”.
The idea of Best Buddies is to have fun and be social in the community, said Dunn.
In the pairing process Dunn, who was a freshman when he met Riley, said many of the students don’t know one other when they are first paired up.
Despite the pandemic the Best Buddies are staying in touch via Google meet with Special Education teacher Catherine Bouzan.
During their last online meeting members made cards for All-American Assisted Living in Hanson and the Sachem Nursing Home in East Bridgewater. They also played the game Kahoot.
In a recent fund raiser for the Best Buddies the Whitman Hanson chapter also raised funds for the food pantries in both towns. Several area businesses donated gift cards to raffle off. The group raised $167 with $83.50 going to each town, according to Dunn.
The group set aside monies for t-shirts with some of the funds.
The group is looking forward to more outings as COVID restrictions evolve for school groups. Some of the activities in years past have been attending games for local Boston sports teams, playing Bingo and creating positive socialization.
To read further on Best Buddies and their missions see their main website: bestbuddies.org/what-we-do/mission-vision-goals.