MANSFIELD — Superintendent Teresa Murphy is pleased to announce that Mansfield High School’s Best Buddies Chapter was named as the Massachusetts 2020 Outstanding High School Best Buddies Chapter.
On Wednesday, June 17, Incoming Best Buddies Chapter President Lulu Cavicchi received the award virtually on behalf of Mansfield High School’s Best Buddies Chapter. Winners were announced on Instagram Live.
Mansfield High School’s Best Buddies Chapter was nominated by Best Buddies Project Managers for the Outstanding High School in Massachusetts award for the second year in a row. Each year Best Buddies Project Managers nominate chapters in their region to receive recognition.
This year, there were 28 nominations out of 235 chapters. Once nominated, the chapter’s executive board and the co-advisors contributed to the completion of an online application for the award. The application included questions regarding membership, community involvement, chapter goals and more.
“Our chapter is honored to have received such an award that recognizes all of our members’ hard work,” said faculty co-advisor Kelly Kenny. “Our goal as an organization is to encourage friendship and inclusion between peers who have special abilities and the general population. Receiving recognition from the state is extremely rewarding and will hopefully encourage more people to join us in our mission.”
Best Buddies is an international nonprofit organization founded in 1989, by Anthony Shriver, to provide opportunities for the more than 200 million people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Starting at Georgetown University, Best Buddies today has more than 2,900 chapters worldwide. Mansfield High School started its chapter in September of 2017 and is led by faculty co-advisors Christine Riley & Kelly Kenny.
The 2019-2020 MHS Best Buddies executive board included Chapter President Lindsey Perry, Vice President Lulu Cavicchi, Buddy Director Ben Ragazzo, Secretary Julia Shield, Friendship Coordinator Alaina Brown, Treasurer John Paul O’Sullivan, Social Media Director Isabella Gomes and Event Planner Karine Ayoub.
“As Chapter President, I worked closely with my advisors, Kenny and Riley, along with my 2019-2020 executive board. The main focus of this year was our mission of spreading inclusion,” Chapter President Perry said. “We surely spent a lot of time working together and making sure the matches were perfect. Our events were meticulously planned and we strived for every member to have a meaningful experience. I was honored to be president of the Mansfield Best Buddies and I am excited for the future of this program as we accept this exciting award.”
Every month the chapter hosts two activities or events for chapter members. Some of the events take place right after school and others are in the evening or on the weekend. The events allow for students, both with and without disabilities, to join together and create lifelong friendships with one another.
This year’s events included a trip to Ward’s Berry Farm in September, a Match Party for the new buddy pairs to meet and an Autumn Festival in October, Friendsgiving Celebration of Friendship in November, a movie night in December, seasonal craft activities in February, a walking field trip for ice cream at Flannel Cow Creamery and a Virtual Social Media Spirit Week in March.
In addition to bi-monthly chapter events, Best Buddies members engage in a number of interest-based social activities outside of school with their friends including playing video games, attending sporting events, dining out, video messaging and more. The chapter also hosts a variety of school-wide events focused on promoting inclusion and educating the school community about intellectual and developmental disabilities and hosts, promotes and engages in a variety of community events.
With the support of school administration, the chapter president attends an annual Best Buddies leadership conference at Indiana University, at which they are introduced to student leaders from chapters all over the country and world.
“On behalf of the entire chapter, our amazing executive board, Kelly and myself, we are exceptionally grateful to all of you for your continued support,” faculty co-advisor Christine Riley said. “We love our mission of spreading the word of inclusion throughout Mansfield High School and the Mansfield community! We are extremely blessed to be a part of such a welcoming community and we look forward to continuing to establish meaningful friendships with others.”
MHS Best Buddies chapter expectations include:
- Meeting twice a month and maintaining weekly contact with your buddy. All best buddy members are expected to maintain a good relationship with your buddy.
- Complete a friendship update once a month.
- Check emails and the Google Classroom frequently to stay up to date with chapter meetings and events.
- Attend events even if your buddy can not attend.