Thursday, April 3, 2008

Best Buddies

Just in case you've never heard of them, Best Buddies ® is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to enhancing the lives of people with intellectual disabilities by providing opportunities for one-to-one friendships.

During the CEC conference, I discovered e-Buddies.
e-Buddies fulfills the mission of Best Buddies by facilitating e-mail friendships between children and adults with intellectual disabilities and their peers who do not have intellectual disabilities.

Students are matched in e-mail friendships based on age, gender, geography, and similar interests. Members are asked to e-mail each other at least once a week. e-Buddies provides individuals with intellectual disabilities an opportunity to develop new friendships while acquiring much needed computer skills.

I'd love to do this type of project with my fifth grade class. It meets the Electronic Educational Village (EEV) elements of the college program I'm attending:
  1. It includes children as desired, vital and contributing partners in a learning community.
  2. It extends into and beyond school to a more holistic way of life and living.
  3. It builds caring, meaning, and self-worth.
  4. It has components that are dramatically enhanced with powerful tools of electronic communication.
  5. It is energizing and intrinsically motivating for children.
This seems to be a wonderful experience for children to participate in to address ability awareness issues and to create and foster friendships. I would love to hear from students/teachers who would consider this type of online project, or students/teachers who have participated in e-Buddies before.

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