Cool at School: Best Buddies Program Promotes Inclusion

LAS VEGAS - Best Buddies is a program that pairs students at Arbor View High School with those who have intellectual or physical disabilities. The goal is inclusion.

Learn More About Best Buddies of Nevada

"Arbor View's a great sports school, great at everything really, and to have Best Buddies involved with that is great," said Arbor View Senior Ashley Thomson.

"You have athletes. You have band kids. Everybody gets involved. We have roughly one hundred and sixty kids," said Best Buddies Coordinator Hilary Eisen.

Ashley and Bailey are two of the buddies at Arbor View. There is also Allie, who plays Wii with her buddy.

Sophomore David Pyle, meanwhile, is a state champion in the 100 and 200 meters at the Special Olympics. "I was feeling, ‘Ah yes, I did it," he said about his win.

Arbor View's Best Buddies program won at the state level too, as Chapter of the Year - in part because of great moments like a recent flash mob.

The flash mob was performed by the Buddies for the first time in the cafeteria. Dozens of other students eventually joined them - the ultimate sign of inclusion.

Nowhere does the beauty of Best Buddies shine brighter than with Ashley and Bailey. Ashley, a senior, has been a Buddy to Bailey for more than two years. The experience has changed her life more than she could imagine.

"You hardly ever see kids join Best Buddies and quit. You hardly ever see it," she said. "They touch your heart… I love her."

There are 14 Best Buddies chapters in Las Vegas high schools and several more at the junior high level.

If you wish to nominate a program for What's Cool at School, visit our website or e-mail us.

You can also vote on your favorite What's Cool at School program. Each month, the program with the most votes wins $250.


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