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Ireton Best Buddies club gives back

Best Buddies is an international nonprofit organization that specializes in promoting inclusion and breaking down social barriers for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The chapter at Bishop Ireton High School in Alexandria hosts several fun events throughout the year and the club has gone on several visits to nearby Alternative Paths Training School to build friendships with buddies. Additionally, the club sponsors fundraisers and bake sales to raise money for the Best Buddies organization.

“Best Buddies is really a great organization because it helps people with disabilities form meaningful friendships,” said Julia Hart, vice president of the club at Ireton.

In honor of the national “Spread the Word to End the Word” movement, which started at the Special Olympics in 2009 and urges people to promote inclusion and refrain from using offensive language toward those with disabilities, the Best Buddies club hosted a dodgeball tournament in March. More than 30 students from Oakton High School in Fairfax, Yorktown High School in Arlington and Wakefield High School in Arlington participated in the tournament to raise money and awareness for the cause.

The club recently assisted with a Unified Sports Day at Ireton, which allowed athletes with developmental and physical disabilities to play in an inclusive format. Players could participate in a scrimmage and skills-based drills where they worked on passing, shooting and dribbling.

The students love having the chance to give back to their community, and they look forward to increasing student involvement. “We’re really excited to get more Ireton students involved,” said Co-president of the club Hannah Blaha. “Everyone always has a lot of fun at the events, plus they’re for a great cause.”

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2019