There are many
reasons to become a peer buddy. If you are a “people” person, you will enjoy
being a buddy because you will get to meet, interact with, help out, and learn
from many new people - especially your buddy(s). You will have the chance to
form a special relationship with a person that you may not have otherwise met.
If you are
thinking about becoming a teacher or entering any education related field,
being a peer buddy is an excellent choice! The law now states that all
students, with and without disabilities, have the right to access all aspects
of public education. Therefore, no matter what area of teaching or education
you are thinking about going into, you will be working with people with
disabilities. Getting to know a person with a disability on a personal level can
be an invaluable experience!
If you are thinking
of going into a medical field, being a peer buddy can be very valuable as well.
Some students with multiple or significant disabilities have medical issues
that affect their educational experience. Often, these health-related issues
are addressed in the classroom. This might be a chance to get some experience
by getting to know a person who has a medical condition, learning how the
condition is addressed at school, and helping to make his or her day (and
yours) more rewarding. Also, if you are going into medicine or a related field,
you will certainly have patients with disabilities, and you will want to be able
to positively interact to provide them the best possible health care that you
can give. One of the best ways to ensure this is by getting to know some people
who have disabilities.
If you are unsure
what you want to do with your future, still become a peer buddy! People with
disabilities today are going to college, finding employment, and participating
in the community in ways that were not always possible in the past. Having this
experience will help you to interact positively with all people in your life,
no matter how you might meet them. Also, while a peer buddy, you may just get a
little push in deciding what you want to do with your life. Or, you may rule
out a few fields for your future, and that can be important, too.
If you have had
any experience working with people with disabilities, you will understand that all of us (those of us with and without disabilities) need people
who will be there for us. If you do not have experience working with people
with disabilities, that’s OK! If you are willing to be open minded and make a
new friend, then you will be an excellent peer buddy.
If you have a
family member or friend who has a disability, then you already have had life
experiences that will help you to be a good peer buddy.
If you feel that
everyone deserves the right to an equal education, then you will make a
wonderful peer buddy.
If you feel
strongly about increasing diversity in your school, then you need to realize
that diversity is not just a race or gender issue, but also an issue for
students with disabilities. Help make sure that your school considers all areas
of student differences important, including the presence of individuals with disabilities.
Finally, if you
want to have fun and get to know someone new, then become a peer buddy. When
you are a peer buddy, you will never feel alone!