(Editor's Note: Thanks to reader Lori Barragato, for sending in this story.)
Recently, the Dana Hills Best Buddies Club enjoyed an enchanted evening of fun, laughter, and lots of dancing at the Dana Hills homecoming dance. Best Buddies is an international non-profit organization whose mission is to enhance the lives of people with intellectual disabilities through one-to-one friendships. Dana Hills High School has developed an outstanding Best Buddies program.
“For me the nicest part of the whole thing was that typical students initiated the whole plan. The parents of my students and the parents of the buddies and the kids all came together to plan this night. It was wonderful, because it is a new experience and it created relationships and independence," said Dana Hills SDC teacher, Rob Harris.
"The students in many respects are exactly the same as all other students at the high school. They have the same opportunities to enjoy high school life as their typical peers. The night of the homecoming dance, they had dates, they exchanged corsages, they had pictures taken by the beach, they ate dinner together, and they laughed, danced, and created memories to last a lifetime. Sometimes the only thing standing in the way of these events happening is the lack of one person to initiate the event," he continued.
"We give our overwhelming thanks to Lyndcee Barragato, a Dana Hills High School student and Best Buddies president, for being the mastermind behind this incredible event.”
“My greatest joy is to see the kids out amongst their peers, enjoying the high school experience to its fullest," said Barragato. “I look forward to many more events that we are planning for the Best Buddies Club!
"This year alone, we have matched 44 Buddies with 106 Peer Buddies” she continued. “As we are a self-funded club, we are always looking for local business’ to donate to our club so that we can have many more of these exciting events.”
Students Had a Blast
“Hanging out with our friends was awesome. Dressing up was awesome. We loved having dates for the dance. We will remember this always,” said Frankie Banda and Mayra Ramirez.
“It was so fun to go to the homecoming dance with such a big group of friends,” said Caleb Ellis.
“The whole school took pictures by the beach before the dance,” said Angel Alvarado.
“Homecoming was even more special this year because I got to go with my Best Buddies and we had an awesome night with pictures and food,” said Sarina Shakouri.