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What Matters Most

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The bell rings, and hundreds of students flood out of their classrooms. Most sprint to catch the first-wave buses, others cluster in the lobby, and some head to the locker rooms to change for sports’ practice. Today is Thursday, though, and I’ve been dancing in my seat all day, waiting for the bell to tell me it’s time for Best Buddies. The moment I hear the bell, I hurriedly pack up my bag and weave myself in and out of the stampede of students, racing down the stairs towards the Best Buddies meeting room.

The door is open for me, and the kids are scattered about the room. Some are setting up board games, and others are waiting for their buddies to arrive. I find Cassie sitting calmly at one of the tables. I place my backpack in a corner and take a seat across from her – her smile warms my heart. Cassie is my best buddy. She loves to doodle, conquer 100-piece puzzles, and spend time with her mother. Though Cassie cannot speak, we understand each other quite well.

I met Cassie this year when I assumed the role of vice president for the club, which is intended to help bring friendship to those who are challenged by developmental disabilities. My duty is to publicize events, such as ice cream socials, apple-picking, and outings to the local mall. I do my very best to make sure everyone takes advantage of the many opportunities our club creates for buddy pairs to connect and grow in their relationship with each other. My goal, as vice president and as a peer buddy, is to bring joy to others through charity- and my experience at Best Buddies continues to inspire me to become a stronger leader within the club and within society.

For now, I reach over the table and grab a few pieces of construction paper and crayons. Cassie grabs one of the crayons and hands me one, too. She points to the paper, and I draw an outline of a smiley face for her to color. She shakes in excitement and giggles. Her smile stretches from her face to mine. It seems that these little acts of love, these small moments together, mean the most to both of us. I’ve realized, during this whole Best Buddies experience, that I don’t need to tackle the major problems of the world to make a difference. It has inspired me to continue making a difference in small ways, to work towards a career where I can be with people, whether that is as a teacher or charity-worker. All I know is that when I serve people, the joy they receive is reflected back to me. That is all that matters.



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