Technically, the Best Buddies Club and the Unified Bowling Club are separate groups at Dartmouth High School. They share, though, a common goal to create lasting friendships, fun memories, and an inclusive environment among peers with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Best Buddies has been a national non-profit organization since 1989 but the Dartmouth High School chapter is only a mere four years old. Unified Bowling is in its sixth year, having hosted countless bowling events during that time and positively impacting the lives of many students along the way.

Like many things, the pandemic forced Best Buddies to transition to a virtual format to continue letting peers connect, but virtual Unified Bowling wasn’t really an option.

Fortunately, the high school’s engineering department was able to construct a wooden bowling alley for the hallway, allowing the Unified Bowling club to successfully operate for the remainder of the school year. This presented an added bonus for participants in that they also learned what is involved in operating bowling alley lanes.

Dartmouth High senior Evan Garcia notes that typically, the largest fundraising event for these groups happens in the fall but this year, that event will not happen until later in the year.

“Best Buddies and Unified Bowling usually participate in the Dartmouth SEPAC (Special Education Parent Advisory Council) Craft Fair, and a lot of our fundraising comes through this event," he said. "However, this Craft Fair is scheduled for later this year, rather than in the fall (when it typically occurs).”

The clubs are currently hosting a Lyman Orchid Pie fundraiser to make up for some of the funding for the fall to help with club events.

“As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, we want to provide our members with experiences that haven’t been possible in years," Garcia said. "For Unified Bowling, we want to return to bowling alleys. With Best Buddies, we want to begin holding out-of-school events again. These funds will help us with transportation and allow us to make our clubs financially accessible to all of our participants. They will provide our clubs with a much-needed financial cushion, since COVID-19 has negatively impacted our fundraising operations.”

The Dartmouth High Schools Best Buddies Club and Unified Bowling Club are just two of the many groups who have entered our inaugural Boosting with Pride campaign. They will compete to win a cash prize to help boost fundraising efforts. Nominate your school's club, team or activity here:

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