Best Buddies: a club for everyone


Photo Submitted by Mia Dunaway

This photo was taken at the Best Buddies Area Coffee event on Feb. 11. Students at the event played board games and bonded with their peers. The students pictured are Sophomore Finn Gilbert, Freshman Bridget Russ, Sophomore Elliot Catania, Junior Jenna Miller, and Junior Tom Russ.

Lia Koski, Staff Reporter

  Imagine a club where all people are accepted. Imagine a club that hosts fun bonding experiences to meet new friends. In reality, this is the definition of the Best Buddies club at Mundelein High School.

  “Best Buddies is a special needs inclusion club that strives to break the stigma around disabilities and create lifelong friendships,” stated Senior Mia Dunaway, the Vice President of the club. 

  Dunaway has been a member of Best Buddies since her freshman year, and she “loves that this club always offers a safe and fun environment where [she is] able to meet genuinely kind people.”

  Sophomore Elliot Catania is a student in the Supported Learning Program (SLP) at MHS and a member of Best Buddies. Like Dunaway, Catania has also been in the club since his freshman year. Since then, he has made lots of friends from the club. 

  Best Buddies meets with students in the SLP program typically once a month for fun events. Past events include bowling, basketball games, painting pumpkins, and their most recent event which was at Area Coffee in Mundelein. 

  Another member of the club, Freshman Bridget Russ stated how the “Area coffee event was a lot of fun. We got to drink some coffee and play board games while hanging out.” Russ then continued to say that she would love to do more events like the one at Area Coffee. 

  Catania also described the Area Coffee event as fun, however, his favorite activity to do with the club is bowling. 

  Best Buddies has many more exciting events coming up this year. Senior Devon Duym, President of Best Buddies stated how Best Buddies will have a Prom event in March. Additionally, “[Best Buddies] is going to El Baile as a club on April 22, and then [they will] end the year with a Lukes’s Fundraiser event in May,” Duym said.

  With all of these events, Best Buddies helps to create close relationships and friendships with all of its members, especially those who may not have as many opportunities to meet new people. 

  “In this club, I have made several close friendships that I wouldn’t trade for the world!,” said Dunaway. 

  Duym also stated how Best Buddies has given her the opportunity to meet new people that she wouldn’t have met before if she wasn’t in the club. Even just seeing familiar faces twice or once a month has allowed her to make new friendships, she said. 

  All of the members of Best Buddies highly recommend any MHS students to join the club. 

  “It is so laid back and is a good way to destress. We have so much fun, and the club becomes very close,” said Duym. 

  Additionally, Dunaway stated, “I highly recommend that anyone with even a little spare time join this club and get the amazing opportunity to be in this club and get to know all these amazing people.”