Best Buddies program starts in Gibson County

MEDINA, Tenn. — For the first time, a program dedicated to creating special friendships has come to West Tennessee. The area’s first Best Buddies program kicked off Monday at South Gibson County High School aiming to create opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. All of the students involved in the program share a special bond. “He’s just such a positive person,” Reese Gardner said. “You can never have a bad day when you’re with Dylan.” Dylan Rogers and Reese Gardner are now buddies for life. “I loved the surprise impact of it,” Gardner said. “They had no idea. Dylan had no idea.” They both are students at South Gibson County High School and are part of a new program that launched at the school called Best Buddies. “It gives our students with disabilities the opportunity to build relationships with their typical peers,” Amber Williams said. The more than 40 students taking part in the program revealed who their buddies were by giving them a pumpkin decorated with everything from balloons to candy. “We all got to take it home and decorate it,” Gardner said. “I melted some crayons, and I thought he would like it because his favorite color is blue.” “I love the color blue,” Dylan Rogers said. Amber Williams is the program’s adviser and says each of the buddies were paired by similar interests. “We diligently went through them and paired them with their buddies so they would have things in common,” Williams said. For Dylan and Reese, they both love to act and sing. “I’m probably going to go to college for theater, musical theater,” Gardner said. “I’m going to be on Broadway. I would love to be on Broadway,” Rogers said. All of the new buddies say they hope to be side by side fulfilling their dreams together. Best Buddies programs also will be starting soon at Peabody High School in Trenton and at Milan High School.

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