UPPER MERION, Pa. (CBS) — Isn’t life just better with a buddy?
Upper Merion High School seems to think so. Which is why they have a Best Buddies program, which bring general education students and special education students together by building friendships.
In the club, physical differences don’t exist because they’ve found common ground. Like sports, games and laughter.
“We just clicked instantly,” Dylan Delapaz said of his buddy. “Everyone likes someone to talk to, a best buddy allows that.”
Everyone here is one in the same, just a person happy to have a friend.
“That one friend or that group of friends, they’re the ones that can come to you and give you confidence,” Akeleel Burton said. “They can have your shoulders, they can have your back. It’s just like a backbone. That’s a friendship to me.”
The program began in 2014 at Upper Merion and is “dedicated to ending the social, physical and economic isolation of the 200 million people with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” according to the school’s website.
“I always thought of everyone to be the same and I can communicate with [the special education students],” Xavier Tathabrounian said. “But this club brought upon something even better and made me have friendships with everybody.”
And the bond between buddies goes beyond the classroom. The friends go shopping together, eat together and go to events together.
Upper Merion hosts Interboro in tonight’s Friday Football Frenzy game of the week.