Dedham Public Schools started Best Buddies in the Winter of 2022. In one year the club has tripled in membership. They have developed an inclusive community where all members are seen, have developed 1:1 friendships, instilled the three keys to friendship: positivity, consistency, and vulnerability, and worked to engage not only students but also faculty members. The DHS Best Buddies program has also established connections within the Dedham community and surrounding communities. We are now nominated to win National Chapter of the Year, and this July, Isabella Annatonne (student) , incoming President, Stephanie Latorella (teacher) and Louise D’Amato will attend the National Conference in Bloomington Indiana where they will be presented with a plaque. As part of their submission, the students created a video which will be available soon and shared with the community.
Best Buddies programs help people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) form meaningful friendships with their peers, secure successful jobs, live independently, and develop self-advocacy and communication skills.
"Your chapter absolutely deserves this as we have been blown away by all the good that is happening here; you all really do epitomize our mission of inclusion. We are so grateful to your team of advisors and student leaders that make this all possible and to all of your incredible students that lead by example and show others what kindness and inclusion truly look like. " - KRISTA THURSTONE , Deputy Director of Programs, Best Buddies International