Commentary by Lyle Liechty
Students at Carmel High School who volunteer to be in the Best Buddies program are a blessing to both the student they are paired with and the family of that student.
There are Best Buddies chapters in high schools throughout the United States. The program pairs a student with a disability to a student without a disability.
As the parents of Caroline, a daughter with a disability, in her second year at CHS, we have witnessed the care and compassion by our daughter’s Best Buddy, Samantha Sharkey. CHS 2012-13 Best Buddy Chapter President Rachael Klippel is also a big part of Caroline’s life. Both Samantha and Rachael give their time each month to include Caroline in variety of activities. During the past one and a half years, these activities have included sleepovers, dances, watching movies, playing basketball, swimming, attending Young Life summer camp and just hanging out.
There are many CHS students involved in Best Buddies, and they should be commended and thanked for their willingness and time to be a real friend to their buddy. They make a powerful and positive difference in the lives of their buddy and their family. Many of these wonderful students already have an idea of the profession they want to pursue, such as teaching or nursing. They demonstrate attributes such as leadership, patience, creativity, time management, communication skills and unconditional caring for others and our community.
It is such a good experience when we are in the community and we meet someone from CHS who knows Caroline through the Best Buddies program. It is amazing the number of acquaintances and friends she has developed in such a short time because of this wonderful program.
Thank you to all the students making a positive difference each day in the lives of those with a disability. You are a blessing.