Best Buddies President Kelsey Jones enjoys lunch alongside one of the buddies. After beginning her second year of presidency, she looked towards several opportunities to assist the community.

Returning for its second year in a row, Best Buddies, a club with a primary focus on establishing one-to-one friendships and leadership skills for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities, has officially resumed for the 2012-13 school year.

Along with the new school year come new hopes and aspirations for the second chapter of the Best Buddies legacy.  Senior Kelsey Jones, president of Best Buddies, expressed that she hopes to have a much more organized club atmosphere than the previous year.

“This year we’re doing a lot more, like field trips to MOSI, Lowry Park Zoo and a Fall Festival at Van Dyke, along with our Buddy Ball and Friendship Walk at the end of the year,” said Jones.

In addition to these new activities, the club also plans on striving to end the derogatory use of the word “retarded.”

“I really want to focus on ‘spread the word to end the word,’ which is basically ending the use of the word ‘retarded,’ and telling people how degrading it is. We want to show awareness, because so many people use it here, and I don’t think they fully understand the degrading qualities the word has,” said Jones.

“Spread the word to end the word” is a national campaign that has been eminent in the media and has been linked to TV shows such as “Glee.”  The campaign currently has 310,221 online pledges from people all across the country who have pledged to stop using the word “retarded.”

As a seasoned club member, Jones feels that the program has given her a new sense of respect for those in our society with disabilities.

“I think that the program’s been really humbling for me, and a lot of the club members, because we can experience respect in a different way and can respect people who aren’t typically respected in our society,” said Jones.

As the Best Buddies activities commence for another year, club members just hope this year is even more inspirational and productive than the last.

Hannah Crosby / Staff Writer

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