Open Your Arms
Make a new friend that will help everyone
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Open Your Arms to Best Buddies is a club that helps to form friendships between average Cherry Creek students and students in the Student Achievement Services, or SAS. The club was set up to help the kids in the SAS program have someone to talk to outside of school. The club has changed their name to Open Your Arms to Best Buddies, from Open Arms because it is currently in a transition year. They want to become a part of the Best Buddies program, which is an international organization “dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” their website explains. “It pairs students with students with intellectual disabilities and it makes them like a partner. They have to contact that student with disabilities at least once a week and do one event with them once a month,” Tess Simpson, a teacher who works with kids in SAS, says. Anyone at Cherry Creek can be in this club. The meetings usually range from about twenty to fifty students depending on the day. They meet in room East 93 one to two times a month. The only requirement to participate is “you have to want to be somebody’s friend,” said Simpson. “A lot of the students in the SAS program don’t have the opportunity to socialize very often outside of the school day, and they become very isolated when they go home,” said Simpson. This club will help these kids have some more friends. Simpson became a part of the club because she teaches many of the kids during the school day, and she loves it’s mission.
In the club, there is one main student role, the president, Ashley Miller. There is also the buddy system, which is to expose participating students to socialization outside of the school day and give everyone a new friend. Simpson explained that Miller “planned the schedule, ran the club fair, helped make flyers to advertise our meeting, helps make the buddies, manages the remind to send out the info like the notices and stuff like that.” Simpson’s main role as the club’s sponsor is to guide the president if she has any questions or needs any help.
Every club meeting, Simpson and Miller plan for the participants to do an activity. “If the weather is nice, they can try to do things outside: kickball, football, basketball, frisbee. If the weather is not nice, we will stay in here [E93] and do art projects or play games,” Simpson says. Open Your Arms to Best Buddies is a club for anyone.