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e-Buddies in Action!

Each month, we are happy to take the time to highlight a school or agency that is 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 Maggie of UCP-Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania.

How long has your group been involved in e-Buddies?
UCP of Pittsburgh has been involved with e-Buddies since the fall of 2002. It has been a long and very rewarding friendship and we look forward to it continuing for years to come!

How many members are currently matched with e-Buddies?
We currently have three participants matched with e-Buddies. While they typically try to e-mail once each week, they sometimes will contact their buddies multiple times per week if there are extra things to share!

What are some key challenges you have faced and overcome?
At first, some of our participants were shy and nervous about sharing personal information and developing relationships with someone new. Typically, they would write e-mails consisting mostly of general questions and then just react to their buddies' responses. As time has gone on, however, they have been able to share their thoughts and feelings, ask for advice, and find a great outlet for their emotions as they communicate with their e-Buddies. Besides just being fun, e-buddies has taught our participants so much about communication skills, stress management as they "vent", and interpersonal relationships.

How do you make e-Buddies work with your group?
Instructors in certain classes help participants type their e-mails if they have physical difficulties with this task. The instructors also help to generate questions when participants are stuck for ideas or feel unsure about a topic.

What have your group members gained by participating in e-Buddies?
Our participants have come to look upon their e-Buddies as genuine friends and now look forward to and even count on their e-mails each week. One participant expressed that communicating with her e-Buddy through e-mail is "like having her right there in the room with me." Receiving these e-mails are often one of the highlights of each person's week- particularly because at times, the friendship with an e-Buddy shows each person that someone cares about them and wants to have a relationship with them just because they want to, not because they have to. In addition, knowing that their e-Buddies care about them regardless of their disability has been a great encouragement.

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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.


Letter from the Director | Ask Emerson | Best Buddies Spotlight
Conversation Starters | e-Buddies of the Month | e-Buddies in Action!
Technology Corner | The e-Beat Archive