The Power of Friendship

“Best Buddies envisions a world where people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) are so successfully integrated into schools, workplaces and communities that its current efforts and services will be unnecessary. Until that vision becomes a reality, we look to continue to educate students, community members, corporations and employers about the emotional, functional, and natural needs and abilities of people with IDD.”

~Best Buddies International

The Pendleton Chapter of Best Buddies Citizens was started in November 2017.  The Pendleton Chapter was the pilot program for Best Buddies International for a community-based program that pairs adults with and without IDD for one-to-one friendships.  Since that time they have developed long-term buddy pairs who are forming life-long friendships. Whether it is going to a movie or a concert, supporting each other through traumatic times, eating out, or doing crafts on a rainy day, the focus is friendship.

In 2021, Pendleton Best Buddies Citizens joined with the Pendleton Artist Society (PAS) to do The Art of Friendship.  This was a collaboration between the buddy pairs and the artists to create masterpieces that were then featured at PAS’s ArtFest annual fundraiser.  The goal was to bring awareness to the community of the Citizens program and to collaborate with the artists to make beautiful pieces of art.  The Art of Friendship was very successful in bringing awareness to the community of the potential within everyone to create beauty.

When the program ended in 2023, the Art of Friendship had made a profit from the ArtFest fundraisers and so the Citizens group decided to use the proceeds to create the Buddies Forever Fund and take advantage of the gift match being offered through Lilly Endowment, Inc.  This unrestricted fund at South Madison Community Foundation will help provide grants serving those in our South Madison communities.

Buddies Forever Fund founders are Zayda Owens, Brittany Jett, Sarah Williams, Amanda Case, Gwen Purkey, Blair Patton, Lori Boram, Sue Patton, Lyndsey Young and Caitlin Haskett.