Marian University’s chapter of Best Buddies recently earned the Best Buddies Indiana College of the Year Award at the organization’s annual international leadership conference at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana.
The chapter earned the award for their strong leadership, execution of fun monthly events, and dedication to Buddy Pairs. President Allyson Milby ’16 and Vice President Caitlin Hensley ’16 of Marian University’s chapter accepted the award with Patrick Knollman, who is a one-on-one buddy with a Marian University student.
Best Buddies is a nonprofit organization dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment, and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).
“The organization turned out to be a lot more than I expected. The individuals within our chapter have become family to me and they support my passion and commitment to continue to lead and expand our chapter to others on campus and in the overall community,” said Milby. “The friendships created within our chapter are truly unique bonds that will last a lifetime.”
Milby, a junior majoring in elementary education, began volunteering with Marian University’s chapter her freshman year as a peer buddy. Peer buddies are paired with individuals with IDD and form one-on-one friendships. Since, Milby has continued to serve as a peer buddy and as chapter president.
With approximately 20 Marian University students and 10 adults with IDD, the university’s chapter hosts monthly events on and off campus, including: bonfires, bowling, dances, Thanksgiving dinner, white elephant holiday parties, and partnerships with athletic teams on campus.
Throughout the year, they also fundraise for the Best Buddies Indiana Friendship Walk, which provides funding for the state office to open new chapters at middle schools, high schools, and universities.
Students interested in becoming members of the organization may contact Allyson Milby at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out the membership application on Best Buddies Indiana’s website.