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Inclusion Is Evolving This Back To School Season

Inclusion Is Evolving This Back To School Season

As students head back to the classroom, however that may look, it’s clear that back-to-school season is one that will require flexibility and patience in 2020. Students and their families are feeling the excitement and anticipation of the new school year, but many are also feeling anxious or overwhelmed as they cope with uncertainty about how learning will proceed.

As a result of the pandemic, Best Buddies has pivoted into the virtual space to ensure all participants have the support needed to navigate these challenging times. Our student leaders all across the nation are rising to the challenge to ensure that our mission of inclusion continues to thrive and participants with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) remain connected and engaged with their peers – even if they aren’t allowed to see each other in person.

Several of our Best Buddies friendship chapters in New York get together every week to watch a movie on their own devices from the comfort and safety of their own homes. They play games and chat throughout the movie, having fun together even while apart. In Missouri, chapters have been using Zoom to host virtual cooking classes where they prepare food using the same recipe and then they all try the new dishes together. In Texas, our chapters got creative with a drive-by parade for incoming freshmen at Grapevine High School.

Pictured: In Texas, Grapevine High School Best Buddies officers welcomed the incoming freshmen (Class of 2024) with a drive-by parade.


With the understanding that many of our students are going back to school in a number of different ways, we have restructured our volunteer website to reflect ways that pairs can still spend time together, friendships can still form, leaders can still engage, and teachers can still support our participants – regardless of what the classroom might look like this year.

As we navigate this new normal together, our Best Buddies school chapters will host at least one virtual event every month.

Additionally, Best Buddies will offer innovative virtual engagement resources and connection tools for buddy pairs without internet accessibility; social and emotional learning tools for teachers; and professional development resources for youth and adult participants.

We remain focused on elevating our mission this school year and we’re incredibly grateful to have supporters like you along for the journey because inclusion isn’t canceled, it’s evolving.

To the students, we wish you all the best as you head back to the classroom for another year of learning!

And to our supporters, thank you for all you have done and continue to do for Best Buddies participants. We could not do this work without you.

In friendship,

Anthony K. Shriver
 Founder, Chairman & CEO
 Best Buddies International

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