Forming friendships can be challenging, but the nonprofit organization Best Buddies pairs individuals to create one-on-one friendships for students with disabilities.
A benefit concert is scheduled for Saturday featuring the talents of The Whits and Allred at Provo High School at 7 p.m. to raise money for a new Best Buddies chapter at the school.
Danielle Agle, a BYU graduate student from Springville studying special education, teaches at Provo High School and will be serving as one of the faculty advisers for the Best Buddies chapter.
Agle said Best Buddies works with students with severe disabilities such as cerebral palsy, Down syndrome and severe autism. Students with these disabilities are paired with students who do not have disabilities, and they participate together in at least two activities a month.
“It’s a good experience for both students,” Agle said. “The students with disabilities learn how to interact with others, and the students without disabilities learn how to be around people with disabilities.”
Agle said the benefit concert will help raise money to pay a club fee to the international organization, assist with funding to send the club’s leaders to a conference and will make activities possible at the school.
Harley Anderson, a junior at Provo High School, is the president of the Best Buddies chapter at her school and said the benefit concert’s main purpose is to raise awareness of Best Buddies and those with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
“We want to let people know about our club and what we are here to do,” Anderson said in an email. “I want people to learn that these kids are amazing. I want them to change their views, and hopefully get moved to eliminated the R word, retard, from their vocabulary.”
Amy Whitcomb, lead singer of The Whits, will perform at the benefit concert. She said she was involved with the Best Buddies program in middle school, so she was especially excited to help when they were asked to perform.
“This program is such an incredible outlet for service and for love and friendship,” Whitcomb said. “So when my band was asked to perform at this event … I knew it was a good cause and perfect for The Whits.”
Information about the organization and the event can be found under “Best Buddies Palooza at Provo High School” on Facebook. A link to buy tickets is available, but tickets will also be sold at the door.
“I do hope they make a decent amount of funds,” Whitcomb said, “but any kind of promotion for the program is huge. Just awareness of such a great cause and what people individually can do to help.”