Best Buddies is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).
To put Best Buddies out of business. Best Buddies envisions a world where people with IDD are so successfully integrated into schools, workplaces and communities that its current efforts and services will be unnecessary. Until that vision becomes a reality, we will continue to educate middle school, high school and college students, community members, corporations and employers about the emotional, functional and natural needs and abilities of people with IDD.
What started as a volunteer program on the campus of Georgetown University in 1989 has grown into the largest global nonprofit organization dedicated to providing opportunities for one-to-one friendship, integrated employment, leadership development, and inclusive living for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Best Buddies impacts over one million individuals in all 50 states and in more than 54 countries worldwide through nine official programs:
- Friendship Programs: Best Buddies Middle Schools, Best Buddies High Schools, Best Buddies Colleges, Best Buddies Citizens, e-Buddies
- Employment Programs: Best Buddies Jobs
- Leadership Development Programs: Best Buddies Ambassadors and Best Buddies Promoters
- Inclusive Living: Best Buddies Living
Best Buddies strives to create a sense of belonging and inclusion for people of all abilities through every stage of life. As people grow, their lives change, but the need for social inclusion only grows.
Locally, Best Buddies works in partnership with 29 elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, colleges and community organizations to create peer-to-peer friendships for more than 1,500 participants through the Best Buddies Elementary Schools, Best Buddies Middle Schools, Best Buddies High Schools, Best Buddies Colleges and Best Buddies Citizens programs. The focus of our school-based programming is to create more inclusive schools and communities through the gift of friendship by breaking down the barriers that naturally exist between individuals with and without disabilities.
In 2019, Best Buddies Jobs will launch in central Illinois. Through this program, we are breaking the mold on traditional job placements for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities by bringing together passionate and skilled employees and the companies that so desperately need their help! Together, we can continue to break down the barriers that exist in our workplaces and communities through the gift of employment!
How to Help
We are currently seeking board members and have year-round volunteer opportunities for individuals to serve on event committees for our signature events. Do you want to bring inclusion to your workplace or school? Contact us today to learn how you can become a part of the global Best Buddies movement!
7800 N. Sommer Street, Ste. 412
Peoria, IL 61615
Jamie Davis, Area Executive Director
Michelle Dempster, Development Coordinator
Rebecca Impens, Program Manager, Volunteers
Chelsie Starnes, Program Manager, Community Engagement