By: Laura Mosier
Staff Writer

Hammond student, Katie Rees, has spent the past few months working hard to reopen Hammond’s chapter of the international organization Best Buddies. Best Buddies is an organization that helps students with intellectual and developmental disabilities. In 2014, Hammond’s Best Buddies chapter was closed due to internal conflict, and Katie saw a need for this organization to be reopened at Hammond.

katie and deja
Best Buddies Katie Rees and Deja Reece

Katie, along with the help of Hammond Special Education Teacher Ms. Shah, emailed the Best Buddies Maryland Chapter to set up a meeting .One thing that Katie and Ms. Shah had to focus on was how they would make the chapter different than the last in order to be more successful in the future years. Katie said, “we put together an action plan and met with a woman from the outreach program in August. We went over what needed to be done and a week later the chapter was approved.”

Katie learned of Best Buddies through the “Spread the Word to End the Word” mural outside of room 205, but was prompted to start the chapter up when she met Senior, Deja Reece. On the topic of Deja, Katie said, “Deja and her mom are both very active in the MD best buddies community, but they have to go all the way to Anne Arundel county for meetings because there isn’t one at Hammond.” After learning this, Katie decided that there needed to be a chapter closer to home.

Best Buddies has produced successful friendships across the globe, and can be for middle school, high school, college, and adults. Katie believes that, “a program like best buddies is so needed at Hammond.” She wants to see the impact that normally developing Hammond students can have on the lives of Hammond students with IDD. Katie would like everyone to know that, “[Best Buddies] makes a huge difference, and parents and families of students with IDD are so happy to see it being started again.”