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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 Pam of Northfield Middle and High Schools in Northfield, Minnesota.

How long has your group been involved in e-Buddies?
The Northfield Middle and High Schools have been involved in the e-Buddies program since the fall of 2005. It has been a wonderful addition to the curriculum for the students in our social skills/communication classes!

How many members are currently matched with e-Buddies?
Currently we have seven middle school students and ten high school students matched with e-Buddies. Many new friendships have been established through the e-Buddies program!

What are some key challenges you have faced and overcome?
Because some of our students have a limited understanding of using email and are being asked to interact with another person who at first is a stranger, they can be apprehensive about getting involved. As soon as they get their first e-mail, it is easier for them to grasp the idea and they are excited to begin exchanging messages. We have also found that our students who have already been matched with an e-Buddy over a period of time often provide encouragement to our newer students who are just getting involved in the program.

How do you make e-Buddies work with your group?
Both the middle school and high school social skills/communication classes have time set aside each week for students to check their e-mail and send a new message. Some students are eager to check every day to see if they have a new message, and if they have free time they are allowed to do so. Assistive technology such as word prediction is available for those students who struggle with spelling. Teaching staff help to guide student's questions or comments if needed or assist with typing for those who have difficulty with fine motor skills.

What have your group members gained by participating in e-Buddies?
Participating in e-Buddies has been a positive learning experience for our students in numerous ways. By having an e-Buddy our students are practicing important social skills such as asking and responding to questions appropriately and sharing information with another person. An e-Buddy is a non-judgmental friend to share things with and it makes students feel special. Using e-mail has also provided a means to address other areas of learning such as writing skills and keyboarding practice, as well as becoming more proficient in using technology that has become a vital part of our culture.

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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!
e-Buddies Speak Out! | The e-Beat Archive