The GHS chapter of Best Buddies, an club helping special needs students, has decided to separate from the national organization.
Organizers hope the move will help local students.
“We felt like we could focus better and involve more peers if there were less regulations,” Mrs. Linda Hanek, co-sponsor, said.
The main reason for the split was the larger organization’s rigid regulations regarding logging hours and attendance.
“Maybe a buddy can’t have regular attendance, and, therefore, we don’t match them. Best Buddies wouldn’t really accommodate us in those instances,” Mrs. Hanek said. “They would say ‘you have someone unmatched,’ and we would get repeated emails.”
The new organization is exclusive to the school and allows for better hours and more opportunities.
“I love being there to help, but it’s nice that there is a lenience so that I can make it to practice on time,” sophomore Conner Watson said.
One of the deciding factors in the split was the larger organization’s process in selecting student presidents.
“They wouldn’t let us choose our own officers. They would request a short list from us of people that we would endorse. Then, they would require these people to travel all the way to corporate headquarters all the way downtown,” Mrs. Hanek said.
The process blocked the election of a new club president.
“Even though we said ‘this is who we want and need, the prior president is graduating early’, they said that they wanted to keep the same president. That did not work out and suddenly we had no president, and the vice president was too busy to take on the full responsibility,” Mrs. Hanek said.
While the separation is designed to reinvigorate support for GHS Best Buddies, the club’s funding or processes will see very little change.
“We do our own funding. There is absolutely nothing being impacted here at all,” Principal Todd Garrison said.
The club sees this as an opportunity to improve the club, the school, and, most importantly, their buddies. Students interested in joining can speak to Mrs. Hanek in room C102.
“I would rather spend my time working with students and be efficient and joyful in our work and not have to stop and say ‘oh gosh you didn’t submit this report’,” Mrs. Hanek said.