CSU students build rewarding relationships through Best Buddies

CSU students are meeting their Best Buddies.Thanks to sophomore pre-vet major Ellen Holbrook and sophomore human development and family studies major Olivia Onofrio, the student group that strives to create genuine and loving relationships between CSU students and disabled residents of all ages from the Fort Collins community is making a place for itself on campus.

Jessica Grady, bottom left, draws a basketball court while her friends in the background guess what it is in a game of pictionary during a Best Buddies meeting Tuesday night in Johnson hall. Best Buddies is a program that pairs CSU students with community members that have disabilities.
Jessica Grady, bottom left, draws a basketball court while her friends in the background guess what it is in a game of pictionary during a Best Buddies meeting Tuesday night in Johnson hall. Best Buddies is a program that pairs CSU students with community members that have disabilities.

Holbrook, the club’s president, ran the high school chapter of Best Buddies, which inspired her over a year ago to bring the organization here to CSU.

While some initial information meetings took place the last week of January, the very first “match party” is projected to take place March 1.

“It’s going to be Academy Awards-themed and everyone wears formal attire,” Holbrook said.

Students will be introduced to their specially selected buddy, chosen on the grounds of common interests.

“I’m really excited, we’re going to try to get all the girl buddies together before to do our makeup together –– just like we did for homecoming,”  Onofrio, the chapter’s vice president and activities coordinator, said.

The paired buddies will hang out two times per month, doing whatever they choose.   There will also be planned events for the club collectively, such as bowling, movie nights and picnics, Onofrio said.

Onofrio advised students to go in with a good sense of humor, have an open mind and not be afraid to be goofy.

Amira Noshi, a freshman international studies major who found out about Best Buddies online, has wanted to join the organization since high school.

After filling out the application needed to join the CSU chapter, Noshi went to the first meeting and is looking forward to being paired with her buddy.

She has plans to hang out with her buddy by going to movies, plays and visiting her grandmother, who lives nearby.

“I don’t want to make it seem like we are forced friends.,” Noshi said. “I want to have a connection with them outside of the organization as well, as real friends.”