Jefferson Middle School in Champaign is a big place. It is so large that many students in the school never have a chance to meet each other. That is especially true when it comes to students with special needs. Many are often in separate classrooms from their peers giving them little opportunity to interact. It is something that staff at Jefferson Middle School in Champaign is working to change by starting a Best Buddies program.
Best Buddies is an international organization which pairs students with physical and intellectual disabilities with a buddy who does not have a disability. At Jefferson, it is done through coordinating large group activities ranging from pizza parties to dance classes. Staff organizing the Best Buddies program at the school say that both parties involved benefit and can learn from each other.
“The more kiddos hang out the more they realize they have in common. They realize they like the same things, they realize they are all people and they can be friends. The way the school system is set up, there paths don’t cross so we are glad they build those relationships.” says teacher Kelley Tonkovich
For more information about Best Buddies, you can visit the organization’s website. www.bestbuddies.org