Best Buddies revived after virtual interlude

Alice Stillerman

As president of Wilson’s Best Buddies chapter, senior Louisa-Sophia Filmer has a big job in transitioning the club back to an in-person setting. Best Buddies, an organization dedicated to helping students with intellectual and developmental disabilities feel included at school, was heavily affected by the virtual world last year.  

Before the pandemic, Wilson students with intellectual and developmental disabilities and other members of the club gathered monthly to make a craft and occasionally bake cookies together. But when the pandemic hit, these activities were no longer plausible.

Luckily, they were able to continue their monthly meetings via Zoom and developed creative ways to adapt to a virtual platform. 

“[Last year], they made these craft care packages and dropped them off at people’s houses for every member of the club, so that when we met on Zoom the next day we all had the same art materials,” Filmer said. Another fun activity they came up with was Pictionary. “That was one of my favorite meetings that we had online.” 

The club has grown consistently since Filmer first joined as a freshman, adding new members every year. 

“The mission of Best Buddies is to create one-on-one friendships with everyone, and to create a more inclusive environment at school,” Filmer said.  “Wilson is pretty divided between its special education classes and the rest of the student body, so Best Buddies seeks to bridge that divide and form friendships with everyone.”

As club president, one of Filmer’s responsibilities is recruiting new members. To do this, she put up posters all over Wilson promoting the club. She also plans to use the virtual club fair, where she hopes to submit a slideshow all about Best Buddies. “Wilson students should join Best Buddies because it’s a great way to make meaningful friendships, it’s pretty low commitment, and we get to go to a bunch of fun events,” she explained. 

Filmer hopes to carry on the Best Buddies traditions she has fond memories of. “My favorite thing that I did ever in Best Buddies history was when they had a Best Buddies prom,” she said. Filmer said she hopes to attend both Best Buddies prom and Zoo Lights as a club again if they are able to do so safely. 

The new Lunch A/B schedule poses challenges for Best Buddies, since the whole club can’t meet together at lunch like they have in past years. Luckily, the Best Buddies leadership team has members in both Lunch A and B, so they will be able to hold sessions during both periods. Interested in joining? Meetings are set to begin soon and will be held once a month on Wednesdays. •