Best Buddies Friendship Programs

Best Buddies Friendship programs represent one of our organization’s four key mission pillars. These programs build one-to-one friendships between people with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), offering social interactions while improving the quality of life and level of inclusion for a population that is often isolated and excluded. Through their participation, people with IDD form meaningful connections with their peers, gain self-confidence and self-esteem, and share interests, experiences and activities that many other individuals enjoy.

How our Friendship programs Work


A participant with IDD is paired with a person without IDD based on location and shared interest for at least one year of friendship. For school programs, matches typically start at the beginning of the school year.


Participating in activities and spending quality in-person time together at least twice a month is suggested for buddy pairs of all ages.


Best Buddies Offices and Chapters plan events, host group activities, support friendship matches and are available for onsite support.


Buddy pairs connect at least once a week by email, phone call, texting, social media or written correspondence.


For e-Buddies, participants communicate via email at least once a week for a year.


Best Buddies staff members maintain regular contact with Friendship program participants to ensure the quality of matched pairs.