With the holidays just around the corner, Best Buddies Brock’s Silent Auction on November 29 is the perfect opportunity for students to do a little shopping while supporting local businesses. This event serves to raise funds for the club and their efforts in creating new friendships between students and new buddies.
Best Buddies is the university chapter of parent charity organization Best Buddies Canada, both providing an outlet for students to create meaningful friendships with people who have an intellectual disability. While they have been a ratified club since 2008, this is only the second fundraiser that they have facilitated, with the first one having taken place in February. They hosted an Art Auction, which featured pieces created and donated by Brock students and community members, as well as vendors who sold their own merchandise. Best Buddies raised $2,000 from that event alone and have high hopes in exceeding the amount on Saturday.
Fourth-year Child and Youth Studies and Psychology major Katie McKay joined this club in 2011 and since taking over as President, learned the do’s and don’t’s of fundraising early.
“We learned a lot from our first fundraiser,” said McKay. “What held us back the most was the timing of our event. This year, we decided to have it before the holidays so everyone could get their shopping done in one place – at our event! However, the most successful part definitely was that everyone had a good time and got to see how great the Best Buddies program is. We got to interact with the community and really get our name out there.”
Compared to traditional fundraising tactics (aka the dreaded Mackenzie Chown A Block tables), McKay noted that having vendors purchase tables at the event was a way to incorporate community support. With over 20 vendors attending the event, as well as donations being provided by local businesses such as Niagara Helicopters and the Greg Frewin Theatre, this event serves to highlight both the club and a growing commercial industry in the Niagara region. The silent auction will be hosted throughout the day, for shoppers to fulfill all of their holiday needs.
With this year’s funds, Best Buddies hopes to expand the Brock chapter, purchase t-shirts for members and to continue holding events from low to no cost for students and their buddies. The club also hopes to spread awareness of their club to raise enough money to create more friendships for students and adults in the community with intellectual disabilities.
“Best Buddies stands for inclusion and equality. The people we support don’t have these social networks. They aren’t in school anymore, they have a difficult time finding employment and their social circles get smaller and smaller. I have been with my buddy for three years now and the love I have for her is unconditional,” said McKay.
Fourth-year Concurrent Education student Kimberly Paisley remembers the first fundraiser very fondly, having attended the event and donated art pieces of her own.
“I was really surprised and impressed that the event allowed community members, students and people involved with Best Buddies to connect with each other. Supporting the program and the event in a small way is so rewarding. They were so proud of what they were doing and the event highlighted that true friendships are made through Best Buddies,” said Paisley.
This event will take place from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at 79 Welland Avenue with a $2 entrance fee. Make some friends, buy some gifts and support your local community.
Check out their Facebook Best Buddies Brock and their Twitter @BestBuddiesBroc for upcoming community events, and how you can get involved and find your buddy.