Best Buddies Sweeps Souhegan

Best Buddies president Alicia Bright talks hopes for the club, her passion for inclusion, and her action plan for the 75 new members

Under Alicia Bright's new leadership, Best Buddies is the fastest growing  club at Souhegan.

Under Alicia Bright's new leadership, Best Buddies is the fastest growing club at Souhegan.

Siera Biddle, contributing author

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Best Buddies is an international organization that helps create opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. It was introduced to Souhegan last year but has quickly become one of the most popular clubs in school. There were a whopping 75+ people to sign up for Best Buddies on Club Day and more continue to sign up online. 

Alicia Bright, a senior at SHS, is the president of Best Buddies, and in her words, this organization is “trying to get inclusion to be a natural thing in the world.” Alicia is passionate about this cause and has high hopes for the installment of Best Buddies at Souhegan. 

“I think why I’m so passionate about this is because I hate that it had to be a club or has to be an organization to make inclusion of people with disabilities a thing, like I just so badly want it to just be a natural thing that happens instead of being a club,” Alicia said. She also mentioned that the goal of Best Buddies is to, “Put themselves out of business” because that would mean the inclusion of people with disabilities has become a natural thing in the world. 

For Alicia, this passion is helping to prepare her for the future. She says,”When I go to college I want to study to be a child life specialist, which is working with kids that are in the hospital long term and most of the time they do have disabilities, so working with them now will get me prepared for when I’m in the hospital doing that.” 

But Alicia also reminds us that we don’t have to be passionate about working with people with disabilities to join Best Buddies, it can help us be more mindful in our daily lives. “It makes you check yourself as a person,” Alicia says. “Like for me as a person, I know that I still am judgmental sometimes, everyone is no matter what the situation is, so it helps if you have that idea of inclusion in the back of your mind. Say there’s a new kid in class, instead of judging them you can think about being inclusive and invite them in because it doesn’t just be to be a person with disabilities.”

 

This open-minded thinking may seem difficult for some people, and it isn’t just something Alicia picked up. She spent a week at Indiana University over the summer in order to prepare for her presidential role in the organization. “Celebrities came in to talk to us which was really fun and we worked on making the way we speak to be more inclusive and not defining them by their disabilities, and we heard from people with disabilities about what that means to them. They also told us activities to do with your chapter, but it was all really interesting and helpful to help lead this year.” 

But other than team building activities and open-minded thinking, Alicia has more ideas on ways she can help to improve Souhegan’s chapter of Best Buddies. “We came up with a plan that we’re gonna do once a month meetings and we’re gonna start making buddy pairs too. We’re also only gonna accept people who we can tell are really gonna commit to it and not just be like “Oh this will look good on me resumé” and we’re just gonna make it more organized this year so that it works and can carry onto next year.”

 

These action plans were tested on club day when over seventy-five people signed up for best buddies. Alicia is excited about the immense amount of participation and says, “So we have a lot of people signing up which is awesome, but what we’ve done is assign definite roles to everyone so it’s not like ‘Oh I’m going but I don’t have a buddy so I have nothing to do’, so we have the planning committee, the fundraising committee, and the friendship walk eventually. People on the first day picked what they wanted to do and we’re gonna start those committees now so that people can keep working with it and not lose interest.” Alicia Bright is determined, prepared, and excited to fulfill her role as president of the Souhegan chapter of Best Buddies this year. If anyone is interested in joining Alicia in Best Buddies this year, you can email her @Alicia.Bright@student39.org, register on Bestbuddiesonline.org (which is linked in the @Bestbuddies_souhegan Instagram bio) or just talk to Alicia during school.

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