NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Throughout the year, Best Buddies of Western Massachusetts gathers for fashion shows, breakfasts and monthly outings. Sunday afternoon, 22News went to Northampton where Best Buddies raised money for their charity while having a lot of fun in the process.
“I think everyone who has a disability should be proud of themselves,” said Ani Petithory whose been a Best Buddies member for 15 years.
Much like best friends, Best Buddies of Western Massachusetts, celebrated all that they have in common.
“What’s your favorite thing that we do? Movies. We go out to eat. We bake. We paint a lot. We like to do our nails most of all. We do our nails a lot,” said Mae Moskin, of Amherst High School whose been with her Best Buddy for a few years.
Best Buddies is a nonprofit organization that pairs up a student with and without a disability in middle school, high school and college.
“They learn these, they gain amazing friendships. They’re able to see humans in such a beautiful way,” said Best Buddies of Western Massachusetts Director Isa Deloge.
On Sunday, more than 300 people ignored the rain in Northampton’s Look Park for the Second Annual Best Buddies Friendship Walk and Festival.
“We went last year together and it was so much fun. We had like the Boston cupcakes and they were delicious and Allie and I both love cupcakes. We came for the walk and it’s a great fundraiser,” Yeji Lee, a Northampton High School Junior, said about her friendship with her “Buddy,” Allie.
Best Buddies say this is so much more than just a fundraiser. They look forward to this day all year where they can celebrate who they are with each other.
“Saw some good friends that I know,” Vicky Taft of Easthampton told 22News.
“It kind of makes the person who has a disability like me feel like I’m a person. I’m a normal person and I am not someone who is different. I am a regular person,” said Petithory.
“I really enjoy like getting to know new people and it’s a lot of fun,” Letitia Ward, of the Best Buddies of Smith College program, added.
Together, Best Buddies of Western Massachusetts raised more than $25,000 to benefit future outings and leadership conferences to continue to raise awareness of this charity’s impact on the community.
You can find out more information about Best Buddies here.