Best Buddies fundraise for Blue Out and future events


(left to right) Vanessa Perez (’18) and Meghan Graham (’19) sell shirts for Best Buddies at the basketball game on Saturday. Photo by Kevin Donovan

Katherine Hogan

This past week, Best Buddies has been selling shirts for their Blue Out event at the men’s and women’s basketball games that occurred on Saturday the 29th. This event was partly to raise awareness for the Best Buddies chapter on campus.
According to the Best Buddies mission statement, the group is an international non-profit organization that works to provide volunteer opportunities and long-lasting friendships to people who suffer from intellectual and developmental disabilities. The program helps people with these disabilities expand their opportunities and create relationships that they and their friends will cherish. The chapter on Augustana’s campus meets for different outings where the buddies can interact with Augie students and get to know each other.
Vanessa Perez is a senior at Augustana College and the president of the Best Buddies club on campus. When she transferred to Augustana as a junior, she saw the Best Buddies table and met some of the buddies at the activity fair. Perez explained that Best Buddies club is important to help recognize that “our community is filled with individuals with all types of different abilities.”
Megan Graham is a junior at Augustana and has been a part of Best Buddies since her freshman year and is now on the exec board as a fundraising chair. Graham said that she wants to make a difference in people’s lives and that the Best Buddies club does that. Graham stated that the Best Buddies club “brings awareness to individuals have different intellectual and mental disabilities,” and tries to remove the negative stereotype surrounding them.
The Blue Out also helped fundraise for the Best Buddies club’s biggest event of the year—the Friendship Walk. The tee shirt sales for blue out raised money for a bus to take the club to the Friendship Walk. Graham said that the friendship walk “is like the super bowl because the buddies look forward to it every year.”
Sara Mazrimas is a freshman at Augustana College and has been a part of the Best Buddies program since high school. Mazrimas says that the Friendship Walk is important because it raises money to help the buddies get more career opportunities and start new chapters of the club. The buddies look forward to it because there are so many people to meet from different chapters.
Although the buddies did not get to scrimmage during the half time of the men’s basketball games like they had planned, a lot of buddies got to enjoy the basketball game and the best buddies club fundraised and raised awareness. Best buddies will have an event in March called “Spread the Word to End the Word” to advocate for the end of the R word. Perez welcomes everyone to join and says that the club is a great place for friendship and inclusion.
Photo above: (left to right) Vanessa Perez (’18) and Meghan Graham (’19) sell shirts for Best Buddies at the basketball game on Saturday. Photo by Kevin Donovan