Best Buddies

Best Buddies is a global nonprofit organization dedicated to creating opportunities for education, employment, social and mentoring and inclusive living programs for individuals with intellectual developmental disabilities (IDD). 

The organization has chapters across the United States and relies on volunteers, advocates, donations and fundraising to successfully integrate people with IDD into their community.  

Eligibility Criteria 

Best Buddies serves, but is not limited to, people with:

  • Down syndrome
  • Autism
  • Fragile X syndrome
  • Williams syndrome
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Traumatic brain injury; and 
  • Other undiagnosed disabilities

People with or without disabilities can volunteer as a Buddy, Officer or Advisor.  

Services and Fees 

Programs empower people with IDD by helping them form meaningful friendships with their peers, secure successful jobs and live with optimal independence. Some events may also help develop public speaking and communication skills and teach self-advocacy. 

As a Best Buddy, pairs are committing to create and maintain a friendship. Generally, they are expected to talk at least once a week and see each other twice a month. 

Buddy pairs may be responsible for their own transportation and money for activities outside of official Best Buddies events and programs. 

Financial Options for Best Buddies

Best Buddies is free to individually join. 

High school and college chapters pay an annual fee raised through grants, donations, and school fundraisers.

Find in Your Area

In Connecticut, there are 67 chapters including those in middle school, high school, and college. You can find a Best Buddies chapter in your community here. 

If you find no chapters near you, you can apply to start a chapter