For regular shoppers, it may have been just an ordinary afternoon at the mall, but for Vico, 28, it was a special day to spend a few hours enjoying a game of bowling with his friends from Best Buddies Philippines. The group of friends were at the mall, with other pairs of best friends, for a friendly bowling tournament organized by Best Buddies, a nonprofit organization dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement for one-to-one friendships and inclusive opportunities for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).
The activity is one of the many initiatives organized by Best Buddies, in partnership with SM Cares, the corporate social responsibility arm of SM Prime Holdings Inc. During the event, individuals with IDD like Vico, had a fun afternoon hanging out with their Peer Buddies volunteers who committed to spend time, have fun activities, communicate on a regular basis and enrich their lives through friendships with individuals like Vico.
Catherine Cham, mother of Vico, said that events like the Best Buddies Bowling Game give her son an avenue to socialize and feel he is a regular part of a group. She is very thankful for Best Buddies which she said helped her find a best buddy for Vico.
“His peer buddy is Buboy Palomares. They’ve been friends for 4 years. They used to jog regularly twice a month or watch a movie. They also engage in group activities. With Buboy, Vico was able to find a friend whom he would text regularly. It is really important for parents because it’s really not easy to entrust your child to somebody.”
“We are very thankful for the support that we have received from our volunteers and sponsors,” exclaims Michelle Aventajado, executive director of Best Buddies Philippines. “Events like these strengthen the friendship between volunteers and individuals with IDD. It’s a great opportunity to promote inclusion, have fun, and enrich the lives of everyone involved in the Best Buddies program.”
For SM Cares, the event is another opportunity to support and give back to the community. “At SM, we believe that establishing good relations can positively affect and inspire those with special needs. We strive to make every SM Mall, a mall for all, and by supporting activities such as this, everyone can enjoy the same fun and leisure in SM, as anyone would do,” said Engr. Bien Mateo, program director of SM Cares Program on PWDs.
Best Buddies Philippines is looking into partnering with private entities like SM who can support them in their advocacy and their other programs. It also aims to widen its scope in the next 5 years by establishing Friendship Chapters in more schools nationwide.
To know more about Best Buddies Philippines you may visit www.bestbuddiesphilippines.com, https://www.facebook.com/BestBuddiesPhilippines/, or send an e-mail to email@example.com.