'Best Buddies' beats bullying with friendship, inclusion & is looking to expand locally

Program expands to Southside schools
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Posted at 1:10 PM, May 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-05 17:59:36-04

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - A school club that takes action against bullying is moving into South Hampton Roads.

Best Buddies International is the world's largest organization dedicated to ending the isolation of the 200 million people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. It works by creating one to one friendship, living and job opportunities for them.

The chapter at William and Mary in Williamsburg just won the college chapter of the year award. Now, students at Hickory Middle and High Schools in Chesapeake have started a chapter of their own, the first on the Southside.

"We have found in some of the schools that these clubs become really popular and all of the cool kids are in it, but everybody's there," state director Molly Whalen told News 3 This Morning anchor Blaine Stewart.

She adds, "We have studies in Best Buddies International that have shown that bullying does decrease when they have a Best Buddies club in their school."

Related: ‘Beach Buddies’ program at Virginia Beach high school works to involve students with special needs

Best Buddies is looking to expand to more schools in our area, especially as students return to in-person learning in the fall. If you'd like to volunteer, or start a chapter where you are, click this link.