by Jessica Buettner
This past Friday, April 1 the Best Buddies organization held one of their biggest events, A Slam Dunk to End the Word.
This annual event consists of a club held basketball game. In this game, the members duke it out in a friendly game of basketball. The event has been held in past years, but this year the Benedictine chapter of Best Buddies decided to reach out to Aurora University; marking a new chapter for the Best Buddies’ annual basketball game.
“We were very pleased to have received the support of the Aurora University chapter of the Best Buddies programs,” said Associate Peer Coordinator of Best Buddies, Arth Bhansali.
Bhansali works with associate peers and buddies who aren’t matched up and makes sure that they are notified of upcoming events. He also assists with the public relations aspect of events as well as present information about mental disabilities once a semester.
The Slam Dunk to End the Word event is one of the many annual events that are held by the Best Buddies club. It is an event that club and non-club members look forward to attending.
Those who attended the event were able to watch the basketball game and learn more about disabilities.
“People who have any physical, mental or developmental disabilities are still people, and it’s important for people to know that,” said event attendee, sophomore Bernadette Pauls.
The main purpose of the event was to bring everyone from all backgrounds together, inform all about the negative use of the “R-word” (retard) and to encourage the on-going change of the “R-word” to mean Respect.
The event was particularly created to spread awareness and encourage respect for those who have an intellectual or developmental disability.
The main focus of the club is to build relationships with those people that have developmental and intellectual disabilities.
Aurora and Benedictine played a great game of basketball, but in the end it was Benedictine that won the match. In between the quarters and during the timeout period, there were also a few competitions for audience members to participate in. There were trivia questions being answered and little basketball competitions to enjoy; in which there were prizes for those who participated. There was also a free raffle that was held by the club and some the prizes included coupons for Buffalo Wild Wings, a dentistry kit from a local dentist and the grand prize being a fitbit.
“I really did enjoy seeing everyone come together to support the buddies and seeing the buddies really have fun with the crowd,” commented Bhansali about the event. “Although I know that there are definitely improvements that we can make for next year, we did much better than previous years.”
“The game was even more fun than I thought it was going to be,” mentioned Pauls. “Just the whole game in general was amazing! I would definitely come to this event if it happens.”
The mission of Benedictine’s Best Buddies is to show others that individuals with disabilities are full of spirit, hopes and dreams; that they are capable of doing great things.
This event was a way to spread the word about ending the word; there were a lot of people in attendance that came to the event to support the same cause. This shows that the message still continues to be spread by others and the Best Buddies program continues to help those that have developmental and intellectual disabilities.
If anyone would like to attend any of the upcoming events held by Best Buddies, visit http://www.ben.edu/student-life/student-success-center/student_engagement/bestbuddies.cfm. The club meets biweekly, the second and fourth Tuesday of each month from 12:20-1:20 p.m. in Kindlon 026.