Best Buddies

Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. What is e-Buddies?
    e-Buddies is an e-mail pen pal program that matches persons with an intellectual or developmental disability in one-to-one e-mail friendships with peer volunteers who do not have an intellectual or developmental disability.

  2. Is e-Buddies a nonprofit organization?
    e-Buddies is part of Best Buddies International, an international 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. The mission of Best Buddies is to establish a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Find out more about Best Buddies by clicking here.

  3. What do e-Buddies do?
    e-Buddies develop friendships through e-mail. Participants agree to e-mail each other once a week for one year. Many of our participants enjoy the e-mail friendships so much, they e-mail each other every day.

  4. How are matches made?
    The e-Buddies staff makes matches based on similar age, gender, geography (matches are never made between participants in the same state/province), and shared interests.

  5. Why should my child join e-Buddies?
    e-Buddies is a fun and safe way for your son or daughter to make a new friend, and can help develop skills in the following areas:
    • Computer skills
    • Communication skills
    • Reading and writing skills
    • Social skills
    • self-esteem

  6. My son/daughter does NOT have an intellectual disability. May he/she join e-Buddies?
    Yes, individuals who do NOT have an intellectual or developmental disability may join e-Buddies as a peer volunteer to an e-Buddy who has an intellectual or developmental disability.

  7. How soon will my son/daughter have an e-Buddy?
    Once the application is complete, e-Buddies staff members begin the review process. It can take up to a month for staff to complete the necessary background and reference checks. Once the application is approved, the matching process can begin. Individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities will typically be matched within one month.

  8. How old does my son/daughter need to be to join e-Buddies?
    You must be at least 10 years old to participate in e-Buddies.

  9. Does e-Buddies need my permission to allow my son/daughter to participate?
    If your son/daughter is under age 18, or has an intellectual or developmental disablity and a legal guardian, we need your consent for him/her to join e-Buddies. Parent/Guardian contact information is included in the online application and an e-mail will be sent to the parent/guardian for consent.

  10. Does e-Buddies cost anything?
    e-Buddies is free for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Because we are a nonprofit organization, we do charge volunteers ages 18 and over a one-time $50 fee. This fee helps cover the costs of checking references and processing applications. This fee is charged immediately upon completing the application process.

  11. Is it safe to participate in e-Buddies?
    Best Buddies is committed to doing all we can to make e-Buddies a fun, fulfilling and safe experience for all participants. This is why we check references for all applicants and require parental permission for those under 18. We also require all participants to agree to a code of conduct that prohibits the exchange of addresses and telephone numbers, or the transmittal of pornographic information. In person meetings are also prohibited, unless arranged by a Best Buddies staff member. In addition, once applicants are matched, all of their e-mails are exchanged through the e-Buddies e-Mail System. All e-mails are sent to a common address and then forwarded to the appropriate person. This provides further safety measures as participants do not share their personal e-mail address with their e-Buddy. Also, if necessary, e-Buddies staff are able to monitor the e-mails exchanged to ensure that participants are maintaining the commitment and adhering to the code of conduct. Click here for more information on our safety guidelines.

  12. Who has access to the information provided on the e-Buddies application?
    Best Buddies considers all information provided on the e-Buddies application highly confidential. We keep this information on a secure server. Only authorized Best Buddies staff members can access this information. Best Buddies does not sell or trade this information with anyone.

  13. How do I sign my son/daughter up?
    Click here to fill out an online application.

  14. What if my son/daughter will be on vacation for an extended amount of time?
    If you know in advance that your son/daughter will not be able to e-mail his/her e-Buddy for a certain amount of time, let the e-Buddy know. You can also turn off the automatic reminders that are sent when a person has not been e-mailing by logging into the e-Buddies Community and changing the status under View Status. You may also contact e-Buddies staff to let us know.

  15. What if my son/daughter is matched but has not heard from his/her e-Buddy for a long time?
    Encourage your son/daughter to continue to e-mail his/her e-Buddy. If the problem continues please contact us.