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contentse-Buddies in Action!

This is a new segment of the e-Beat! Each month we will highlight a school or agency involved in e-Buddies. Our hope is that this will be an opportunity to share some of the challenges and triumphs encountered through group participation in e-Buddies!

This month, we spoke with Elisa Poe from The Center For Functional Skill Development in Pennsylvania!

How long has your group been involved in e-Buddies?
Our e-Buddies group has been active since 2002.

How many members are currently matched with e-Buddies?
We currently have two matched participants.

What are some key challenges you have faced and overcome?
One challenge that they have come across would be when a consumer became ill and could not attend the day program to e-mail their e-Buddy. Another challenge is when someone didn't fit (e-Buddy with consumer) the consumer got attached to that e-Buddy and then they may discontinue communication due to personal reasons.

We overcame these challenges by explaining to the consumer what actually happened to their e-Buddy and that e-Buddies will find someone else for them. It doesn't happen very often. When someone is ill there's not much to do but to e-mail the e-Buddy and explain that the consumer is ill.

How do you make e-Buddies work with your group?
Our group tries to e-mail once a week and the staff (the same staff weekly Karen Zito and Carly Sheader) will read the e-mail to the consumer from the e-Buddy and then the consumer will translate what they would like to say in their response or type back.

What have your group members gained by participating in e-Buddies?
The consumers look forward to getting e-mails and telling them what they do during the week at the day program and home. They have learned to share, gained friendships, to try something different by using a computer, learning about other people, and satisfaction that someone cares about them by writing them. And one individual now has a computer at the day program so that she can e-mail her e-Buddy. Each person gets excited and loves to see if they got a picture, card or e-mail. They do feel important when using the computer as well. This is a wonderful program for someone to meet a friend.

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Do you work with a group of e-Buddies participants? We'd love to feature your group here! Please contact us at ebuddiescomments@bestbuddies.org.


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