Local News

Best Buddies club connects students in kindness, volunteerism

Posted February 25, 2020 11:01 a.m. EST

— A new club at Heritage High School in Wake Forest connects students 'with' and 'without' disabilities.

The Best Buddies club has a mission of friendship and charitable projects. It's creating friendly hallways and helping students build those important high school friendships.

The club, which is active in all 50 states, brought Audrey Newkirk and Ellie Lavalle together as fast friends.

Newkirk, a special education student at Heritage High School said, "It's so fun to have brand new friends."

Lavalle said she loves Newkirk's outlook on life. "She's just just so positive - with her giggle," said Lavalle.

They go to movies and and play games.

Jabari Shield, another special education student, built a connection with Gavin McCabe that started with Bey Blades.

"This one is my Bey: Turbo Achilles," said Shield.

These are genuine friendships.

Sophie Adgate said, "Forming the relationships that I've had with them has been the best part of my high school experience, for sure."

These club members also work together on charitable community projects. Their current project is a shoe drive.

They're collecting new or gently used shoes, which are then sold at a low cost to developing countries like Haiti. It helps citizens there start-up their own shoe businesses, which may help them break the cycle of poverty.

Lindsay Tobin, a club advisor, said, "We really need the help and support of our community in meeting this goal of collecting 2,500 pairs of shoes."

The club also helps special education students to find more volunteer work, as well as real jobs at local businesses.

It's key to the club's vision.

Suzi McCabe, a club advisor said, "Students with IDD and individuals with IDD would be so integrated into the school and community and the workplace that they wouldn't need the Best Buddy Club anymore."

People in the Wake Forest area are encouraged to bring new or gently used shoes to Heritage High's main office as donations. You can also contact the main office, and they will send someone to pick up your donation.

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