Best Buddies pairs individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in one-to-one friendships with their non-disabled peers. Our full-time program managers work with a caseload of chapters to ensure the successful implementation of a chapter and provide ongoing support through regular communication and monthly on-site visits.
Best Buddies has a systematic structure with guidelines and mandatory paperwork required for participation. We provide a number of critical resources including access to Best Buddies Online, a Best Buddies handbook, promotional flyers and posters, videos, and the use of our copyrighted name and logo. We also hold statewide and national social events and leadership trainings.
Would you like to see a Best Buddies chapter in your community?
Each Best Buddies chapter is a registered student organization within their school and is maintained by student leaders (a chapter president and team of officers) along with the support of a faculty advisor, a special education advisor designated by the school, and a Best Buddies employee (program manager). The key to successfully starting and sustaining a Best Buddies chapter lies within the support from school administration, parents and teachers, as well as the community at large. For those reasons, the following three criteria have been established to begin a new chapter.
1. If you are interested in seeing a Best Buddies chapter at a school in your community, please work with the school to have them complete and return (via fax, mail or email) an application so that we can have a better understanding of the need, interest, and commitment level. Download the application (PDF).
2. There are general operating costs associated with effectively managing each Best Buddies chapter. This cost includes salaries of staff with benefits, materials, travel, telecommunication, trainings, supplies, equipment, and insurance. Our programs are funded through private donations, foundations, and special events. To begin a chapter, an initial donation of $5,000 must be secured or donated by the person(s) interested in starting the chapter, made payable to Best Buddies Wisconsin.
Additionally, the person(s) interested in starting the chapter must pledge to raise/donate at least $2,500 annually for each of the first 5 years of the chapter. This may be accomplished by forming a team at the annual Friendship Walk, seeking individual or corporate donations not already affiliated with Best Buddies Wisconsin, working with a school organization such as the PTA or PTO, or by forming a community committee to take on the fundraising efforts.
3. Recruit a parent liaison that will commit to take a hands-on role for the first two school years that the school is active. The parent liaison must be a parent with a child in the school that will assist in building awareness of the program. The parent liaison will have regular communication with the chapter advisors and student leaders, form a parents committee, and assist with disseminating information and updates on the chapter to participants’ parents to ensure maximum awareness and event participation.
Best Buddies Wisconsin currently has the capacity to open four (4) additional chapters.
High school chapters within a school district must be established prior to a middle school chapter within the same district being opened.
At this time, only applications for schools located within 45 miles of downtown Milwaukee will be considered.
Best Buddies Wisconsin reserves the discretion to choose which chapters will open in select years.