CCJHS ‘Best Buddies’ Club earns international award

Front row, from left, Angel Rocha, Joshua Delintt, Kyle Demery Back Row, from left, Bridget Spaude (paraprofessional), Johnathan Huerta, Desirae Davis (Best Buddies Advisor), Katherine Wood, and Anna Thielbar (paraprofessional) Courtesy of Apache Junction Unified School District.

Front row, from left, Angel Rocha, Joshua Delintt, Kyle Demery
Back Row, from left, Bridget Spaude (paraprofessional), Johnathan Huerta, Desirae Davis (Best Buddies Advisor), Katherine Wood, and Anna Thielbar (paraprofessional)
Courtesy of Apache Junction Unified School District.

The Best Buddies Club at Cactus Canyon Junior High School in the Apache Junction Unified School District was recently awarded as “Outstanding Chapter for the 2014-2015 academic year,” by Best Buddies International.

The honor was announced at the 26th Annual Best Buddies International Leadership Conference, held July 17-20, 2015, in Bloomington, IN.

Life Skills teacher and club sponsor Desirae Davis received the award this week. “It’s just amazing. Out of all the clubs in the world, they chose us!”

The plaque reads, “We are proud to recognize your chapter for the incredible contributions you have made to further the Best Buddies movement in your school and community. Thank you for your service and commitment to sharing opportunities for friendship, leadership, and inclusion and for making the world a brighter place for so many. Anthony K. Shriver, Founder & Chairman, July 17, 2015.”

The mission of Best Buddies is, “To establish 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).” In schools, students with disabilities are often integrated into classes with their peers. Best Buddies Clubs pair students with disabilities in one-to-one friendships with middle school students who do not have IDD. Best Buddies fosters inclusion, understanding, and self-esteem while giving students unique opportunities for leadership.

Davis started the Apache Junction High School Best Buddies Club in 2011, then, when she moved to the junior high campus two years ago, she began the middle school chapter at Cactus Canyon.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity to be part of this club,” said Davis. “Every student can join Best Buddies. We have many exciting events on and off campus. Some of our events include: parties, scavenger hunts, and fundraisers, Buddy Prom, and the Friendship Walk.”

Visit www.BestBuddiesArizona.org for more information about Best Buddies Arizona.Editor’s Note: Dana Hawman is the public information officer for Apache Junction Unified School District.

Editor’s Note: Dana Hawman is the public information officer for Apache Junction Unified School District.

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