Happy Anniversary to Ryan and his e-Buddy Victoria! Ryan became involved with the e-Buddies program, sponsored by Best Buddies, just over a year ago. At the time, I was investigating the Best Buddies program and learned that there wasn’t a chapter in Erie. I then discovered e-Buddies, an email pen pal program between persons with special needs over 10 years of age and peer volunteers from all across the United States. It was a fun, safe way to make a new friend in a secure online setting.
Ryan completed the application and was matched with Victoria. A few weeks later, Ryan added Victoria to his email contacts, and they began their friendship. Ryan has learned about Victoria’s school work, vacation plans, favorite movies, music and interests. In return, he shared information about his graduation, plans for fall and recreational interests. Discussion has often revolved around the weather, as Victoria has never seen snow. Ryan looks forward to corresponding with her. Her friendship is important to him. Often he shares with her what he might hold back when forced to have a one-on-one conversation. The e-Buddies program provides him the opportunity for friendship with a typical peer. So, why is this important?
Friendships are essential for all children and play a vital role in developing social skills, which are so important for independent living. For children like Ryan, social skills are challenging. The e-Buddies program is an effective method to assist in developing these skills. E-Buddies is one of eight programs offered by Best Buddies international. Best Buddies was founded in 1989 by Anthony Shriver and has grown to more than 1400 college, high school and middle school chapters across the United States and internationally.
Dorian Smith, PA Director for the Best Buddies program, is joining us Wednesday, October 10 at 6 p.m. at the Barber National Institute. The program, free and open to the public, is to introduce Best Buddies and e-Buddies to Erie. Ryan has truly benefited from e-Buddies. I encourage you to attend and learn more about Best Buddies, e-Buddies and what we can do here in Erie.
I am excited to welcome Dorian Smith to the Barber National Institute and Erie, and Ryan is looking forward to telling Victoria about his first week of job training.
RSVP by calling 814-480-6831. Act 48 credit available upon request.