Best Buddies dance the night away

By on September 26, 2013
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Students and the Board of Directors for Best Buddies Connecticut danced the night away at the Best Buddies dance on Sept. 20 to kick off the year.

Madeline Hardy

Best Buddies is a nonprofit organization that works with individuals with intellectual disabilities.

“We pair up college students with intellectually challenged individuals [‘buddies’] in the local community,” said senior Caroline Cadigan, the co-chair of the club and an eight-year participant.

The buddies are between the ages of 18 and 70, and there are 22 buddies working with more than 100 students in the club. Club co-chairs Cadigan and junior Courtney Montferret work to organize events for the students and their buddies.

Best Buddies is an international organization with chapters in all 50 states and six continents. There are 46 chapters in Connecticut in 36 middle schools, high schools and colleges. The central office for Quinnipiac’s chapter is located in New Haven.

“The purpose of this event is to try to unite all the chapters in the state,” Cadigan said, adding that 15 chapters attended Friday’s dance. “It’s also a kick-off event for our Friendship Walk, which is the biggest fundraiser.”

The Friendship Walk, a 5k walk that both buddies and students participate in, will take place on Oct. 28 and will include music and dancing.

Best Buddies member and senior Kerry Gilson said dancing was her favorite part of the event.

“It’s a great way for everyone in the club to meet each other,” she said. “Best Buddies is great; there are so many great events. It’s one of my favorite clubs on campus.”

Fellow club member Melanie Powers also praised the event.

“The events are always fun; they’re very upbeat, and the Best Buddies dance is wonderful,” she said.

Powers said the club is a “great opportunity” for students to bond with others in addition to opening their eyes and appreciating what they have.

“Best Buddies spreads the mission of inclusion,” Cadigan said. “Everyone has many abilities and disabilities, and everyone needs a friend. That’s the message we try to send.”

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