Best Buddies International comes to Rochester

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(ABC 6 News) – An international nonprofit has made its way to Rochester. Best Buddies International held it’s kick off open house tonight at Little Thistle Brewing Company.

Best Buddies, pairs someone with an intellectual and developmental disability (IDD) with someone who doesn’t have a disability for what is meant to be a life long friendship. Through the program, the buddy pair of the two adults will be there for each other when they need it most.

“We do that in schools, adult programs, in corporations just to create more inclusive community for adults with disabilities,” said Best Buddies Deputy Director of Programs and Operations Kai Walsh.

The person responsible for getting a chapter in the med city is lead volunteer Emma Niemeyer who moved to Rochester almost a year ago. She says she has worked with people with disabilities for much of her life.

“When I moved to Rochester, I really missed that experience and those relationships. So, a friend actually told that he was involved with Best Buddies in college and I was automatically interested. And it I looked it up and it was aligned with everything that I care about, and I thought it would be a great thing to bring to Rochester,” said Niemeyer.

Tammie Magnuson says that having a program like this in Rochester is important to the community.

“We need to be supportive of each other even the people that don’t have those critical stuff that they are facing, they are facing other ordeals in their life and we need to have that kind of support for people,” said Magnuson.

Tuesday night, Best Buddies held an open house for everyone with a IDD or those without to come and learn more about the program and how they can get involved. Andrew Watts says he’s excited, “to see more people, younger people. Come back to the community and help out,” as he gets involved with Best Buddies.

Magnuson said she came out to strengthen and build more friendships and that, “It’s important to have special friendships. It’s important to find people you have a lot in common with that you truly care and love.”

Organizers say anyone is welcome to join even if you don’t have experience working with individuals with disabilities.

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“It really is a life changing program for the person with disabilities and the person without,” said Walsh.

“It’s a meaningful relationship both for me and for them. And it’s just kind of a way, I mean life is not about just sitting inside and being alone. It’s a way to get everyone out,” said Niemeyer.

For more information about how to get involved with Best Buddies. click here.