300 Days of Service: E-Buddies
Guest Blog by Carrie Valleau
Best Buddies is an organization founded in 1989 that has more than 1400 chapters internationally. It is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates friendship, employment and leadership opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
The portion of Best Buddies that I am involved with is called E-Buddies, an email pen pal program. E-Buddies is a safe way to establish an email buddy, it gives people with disabilities experience with computers and best of all, lasting friendship. I became involved over ten years ago when I was briefly out of work and looking for some volunteer work. After I was thoroughly screened by the e-Buddies staff, I was set up with my pen pal, Alivia. Alivia lives in Canada, is in her mid-60’s and is intellectually challenged. She has a wonderful life and a strong support system where she lives, our friendship on the computer is only one of her weekly events she takes part in. Alivia and I write back and forth to each other every week, and we rarely miss a beat. I share with her all of the milestones in my life, as well as the mundane happenings. She shares with me her favorite activities and travels with her family. We often write about things like what is our favorite thing to eat, or sport to watch on TV. Alivia has a great sense of humor and loves holidays, parades and animals. We have had sad times, like the death of family members, happy times, when we both adopted pets from the animal shelter and everything in between. I consider Alivia one of my closest friends and look forward to corresponding with her every week.
If you are interested in learning more about this wonderful organization, please go to www.ebuddies.org