Cleveland "Best Buddies" Named Outstanding State Chapter
Posted on 09/23/2016
“Best Buddies” Bridges Gap for Students With/Without Disabilities
When you go to Cleveland High School, you may well see students with disabilities in the halls, on the sports field, and elsewhere right beside their non-disabled peers. It’s all part of a deliberate effort to bridge the gaps among students by minimizing differences and including individuals who have disabilities in classes and activities.
Spearheading this effort is Cleveland High’s Best Buddies Chapter, known as “Storm Buddies.” Their efforts to create a culture that accepts everyone for who they are and spreads awareness and integration into the community were recently recognized by Best Buddies International with the organization’s Outstanding Chapter award for New Mexico. The Rio Rancho School Board recently recognized the Best Buddies group at one of its meetings.
Sponsor David Holland says, “Our goal is to … help end isolation when it comes to individuals who have disabilities. Our program focuses on enhancing the lives with individuals who have disabilities by providing opportunities for one to one friendships, integrated employment and leadership with individuals who have intellect or developmental disabilities. It really is a program designed to bridge the gap . . . "Storm Buddies" has transformed the culture and community here at CHS, by ending the separation between individuals who have disabilities and don't have disabilities."
One example is shown in the photo at left. Best Buddies member Tiana, in silver, regularly performs with the Cleveland High Dance Team, the Stormettes.