Best Buddies: An inclusive place for everyone


Alana Naylor

“Best Buddies is a student-led organization for students with disabilities to make friends with other students in the school,” said Jerod Smith, the head sponsor of Best Buddies. 

Katelyn Curry and Trailyn Sims

Best Buddies is a PHS club where an individual that’s in the applied skills class gets matched with a student that they can connect with and count on at school. 

“No one wants to eat alone or go through school without one friend,” said Ms. Zina Robinson, the co-sponsor for Best Buddies and AP at PHS.

Along with Best Buddies there’s another organization called “Unified Champions.” Unified Champions is an organization for the kids to be able to get a chance to play sports. Ms. Robinson said she fully supports Best Buddies and the Unified Champions sport program because it not only helps the student, but also the parents to be involved in their child’s school and extra-curricular activities.

“I always think about when a child comes into the world, and the parents are so happy because they know they’ll get to do so many things with them and then when they find out that they can’t. Sometimes it can make your world just kind of feel crushed. With Unified Champions, we make it possible,” said Ms. Robinson. 

In addition to track and field, the program has added basketball and robotics this year to Unified Champions to give students more opportunities. Robinson felt she needed to 100% include the kids. Unified Champions would do just that.

“What I realize about the students that are in Best Buddies is that they never have a bad day, they are always happy and you’re always going to get your best from them, with no complaints. I realize that they do 100% of what they can with 100% of their abilities, and that’s what I love about it,” said Ms. Robinson.

PHS students are encouraged and welcomed to participate in the Best Buddies club. The club is always looking for students to sign up or help get involved. Not only does it support the Best Buddies program, but also proves to be fulfilling to the student who volunteers and leaves a lasting impact on them.

“I got into Best Buddies because my sister did it in high school, but I didn’t realize how much it would impact my life. It’s so fun just being around them and playing with them, seeing the smiles on their faces when they kick the ball or just seeing them getting excited and being getting to do something they don’t normally do, ” said Best Buddies volunteer Katelyn Curry. “I’m so glad I got into this class, it has truly changed my perspective over having an appreciation for life and it’s helped me to realize what is truly important in life, which is being kind to all.

The next event for Best Buddies is a fundraiser. They will be selling bracelets/wristbands that say “Best Buddies” and “Unified Champions” to help get the word out. More volunteers will be needed and they are looking for new officers. To find out more information, follow @phsbestbuddies_ on Twitter and Instagram and Porter Best Buddies on Facebook.