Bowie Buddies presidents strive for inclusivity

Student organization focuses on showing kindness to all regardless of circumstance


Photo by: Abbey Repka

FOCUSING ON KINDNESS: Alyssa Poole makes a card for her buddy, these cards are used by the members of Bowie Buddies to show kindness to their buddies and to check in with them from week to week. Along with letters, they also have face painting and celebrations on spirit days.

Miranda Cardenas, Reporter

Kindness, warmth, and friendship. These are the three words that sum up the goals of the Bowie Buddies program.

This program allows Life Skills students to have a buddy.  Senior co-president Alyssa Poole has fallen in love with being a part of this organization, and she tries to make the program a place where everyone feels like they belong.

“I felt really passionate about making sure that the kids who don’t really get to interact with a lot of other students, like the Life Skills kids, have that opportunity to form close bonds and relationships with new people,” Poole said. “It’s extremely important.”

Bowie Buddies students do different things throughout the year to create a fun and warm environment for their buddies.

“We make cards for our buddies, and we have some fun parties with everyone,” Poole said. “Really just anything that can make their day better and make them smile.”

Poole feels that her biggest accomplishment as one of the co-presidents has been getting more of the student body to participate with the program and making it fun for everyone.  There are special events for the buddies and the members of the organization and other Bowie students to bond, such as the Bowie Buddies Special Olympics.

“The best feeling I get is when I see how happy the kids are and how they’re impacted by different parties or the Special Olympics, which is my favorite event out of the whole year,” Poole said. “And just having the whole school come out, the sports teams always do such a great job of making the kids feel encouraged and I think it’s really rewarding for everyone involved.”

Senior co-president Natalie Aman believes that the program is beneficial for everyone and thinks everyone should get involved in some way.

“For people who want to join Bowie Buddies, I say do it,” Aman said. “It’s such a fun way to make an actual impact on kids at this school. We have a lot of fun as buddies, and you get to hang out with kids you normally wouldn’t hang out with.”

Aman’s favorite aspect of the program is that she feels it is very rewarding to make the kids feel so happy.

“It’s such a joy to see how excited they get when we deliver mail, paint their faces, or just hang out with them,” Aman said.

Life Skills teacher Alyssa Werley also feels a strong passion for helping her kids and supporting them to be the best they can be.

“I feel like there are a lot of people who like to downplay their abilities,” Werley said. “I like to bring out their abilities, and make my students believe in themselves in everything that they do.”

Bowie Buddies allows kids that are separated from the general student body to be integrated with different kinds of people, helping them socially and emotionally.

“There’s such a big academic gap at this point with my kids and their peers,” Werley said. “So this club really allows them to have opportunities that they don’t really get anymore with interactions.”

Werley believes Bowie Buddies really makes a difference in the Life Skills class’ emotions and self-esteem, also adding some new friends and much-needed diversity to the day.

“They’re with the same group almost the entire day, and have that same routine every day, so when they get to see their buddy they really look forward to it and spending time with them,” Werley said.

The Life Skills teachers believe that the program helps all of the kids feel acknowledged and rewarded.

“It’s hard for me as a teacher to give every single child specifically what they need and when they need it when there’s 30 something other kids who have their own needs, but I feel rewarded in even the littlest things,” Werley said. “If we’ve been working on one skill all year and it’s finally achieved, that makes it worthwhile.”

Junior Life Skills student Shea O’Reilly is one of many students that are a part of this program and has been participating in the  Bowie Buddies program for the past two years now.

“My favorite part of Bowie is seeing all my friends, and I see a lot of them through Bowie Buddies,” O’Reilly said. “All my Bowie Buddies are pretty much some of my best friends.”

The organization is important to everyone involved, not only the buddies in the Life Skills class.

“This organization is important because it helps grow the sense of community at Bowie,” Aman said.  “A lot of the buddies only spend time with the kids in their Life Skills program, so being a buddy is important because you get to make new friends and see our school from a different perspective.”

Poole encourages anyone who wants to join this organization to do so with an open mind and heart.

“I think anyone who’s outgoing and enjoys making others smile should join,” Poole said. “It’s a lot of fun and an overall great opportunity to be a part of something awesome here at Bowie.”