Library, Best Buddies start new program

Pendleton Community Public Library has partnered with the Pendleton Chapter of Best Buddies to help launch a Citizens Program in Southern Madison County.

The Citizens Program matches young adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities (IDD) with individual members of the community.

Zayda Owens, a local college student, has been involved with the Best Buddies program since high school. She became involved because she has multiple siblings with special needs.

Zayda said she knows “how important friendships have been to them, and how important my friends have been to me through the years. I wanted to be that friend for someone else.”

She remains passionate about Best Buddies because she feels it has changed her in a very positive way.

“Best Buddies has expanded my circle of friends and helped me to become more outgoing,” she said.

Blair Patton has been involved with Best Buddies since high school and remains active with the organization, raising funds and awareness for those with IDD.

He and his match, Michael Farmer, are the first match of the local Citizens Program. Michael and Blair went to pre-school together, and Michael worked as Blair’s support staff one summer.

Blair said he and Michael “may see a movie or go out to eat. If it’s nice, we go for a walk in the park or get a snow cone, if it’s that time of year.”

In its partnership with Best Buddies, the library is providing space for those who want to participate in the Citizens Program but might be hesitant. They may wonder what kinds of activities they should do or be nervous about meeting new people.

The library is encouraging participation in the program by playing host to monthly activities. Cocoa and canvas, movie showings and game nights are all great ways to relax and have fun.

They also provide a great way for new matches to get to know each other.

“Be yourself. And you know, don’t worry about being nervous. Just sit down and start having some fun,” is what Blair would tell somebody who is interesting in participating in the program.

Zayda said, “Try it! It’s a great way to gain new friendships, and what better place to start than Pendleton?”

The Pendleton Citizens Program is led by Sue Patton and Patty Hinton.

If you would like more information about the Citizens Program, email suemp1@hotmail.com.

The next event planned at the library is scheduled from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 26.

Call 778-7527 for more details or register online at www.pendleton.lib.in.us/events/calendar.