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Best Buddies 

Best Buddies is a University/College based volunteer program designed to foster friendships between adults with intellectual disabilities and students. Best Buddies is grounded in the belief that friendship is important to the development of all individuals and that for all individuals with intellectual disabilities, friendship is a medium through which they can integrate more fully into their communities.

The Best Buddies program gives people with intellectual disabilities the chance to have experiences which most people take for granted - going for coffee, out to a movie, or simply enjoying the company of a good friend. Best Buddies International was founded in the United States by Anthony Kennedy Shriver in 1989. It has since grown to encompass over 1,000 chapters world-wide.

Best Buddies Canada was incorporated as a registered national charity in 1995. Since then the program has expanded from coast to coast, with chapters at over 55 campuses from the East Coast to Vancouver Island. How does the program work?  Best Buddies Canada establishes chapters on University and College campuses wherever there are interested students. Each chapter is managed by a student volunteer, called a Campus Coordinator. 

How are the Buddy Pairs matched?  
Each chapter works with a Host Site organization working in the field of intellectual disabilities (in Winnipeg, SCE LifeWorks). The Host Site Coordinator and Campus Coordinator match students with a Buddy, according to a personality profile and interview. All student volunteers complete an application, submit reference questionnaires and undergo a police record check. 

What type of time commitment is involved?
Student Buddies and Buddies make contact with each other every other week by phone or email. One-to-one activities (going for coffee, taking a walk, etc.) take place once per month. In addition to this, buddy pairs at a chapter have the opportunity to get together for group events several times a year.

Who benefits from the program? 
We all do! The friendships formed through the Best Buddies program add a new dimension to the lives of all people involved. A Best Buddies friendship also helps to build acceptance not only among Buddies & Student Buddies, but also in the community. Students who lead their chapters receive valuable training and experience. 

If you are a student at the University of Manitoba, the University of Winnipeg or Red River College and are interested in becoming involved with the Best Buddies program, please contact the SCE LifeWorks office. 

For more information about Best Buddies, check out their website at