Walking to the local coffee shop, enjoying the view or even heading to the movies is an experience most people take for granted.
Except for people like Daniel Moloughney.
Moloughney has an intellectual development disorder, so going out and being included is something that makes him very happy.
Enter Jacob Cuthbert, a volunteer with the Best Buddies program, and Moloughney’s peer buddy.
Cuthbert, a second-year biomedical sciences student at UOttawa, has been involved with the Best Buddies program for two years. It allows him to spend time with Moloughney and give him the chance to feel included.
“We talk on the phone every couple of weeks, and try to meet up as much as possible,” Cuthbert said in an email to the Times. “Sometimes we go out to lunch (he loves Harveys) or for a coffee at Tim Hortons, but for the most part we just hang out at his apartment and play cards with his roommate.”
When he first met Moloughney they instantly clicked, and after spending time together, Moloughney gave him a hug and exclaimed to his co-worker “this is my buddy!”
Cuthbert’s brother is severely developmentally disabled, so hanging out with Moloughney and volunteering for the organization reminds him a lot of being at home. Sometimes spending time with Moloughney makes him a little emotional — as do the large group events they have once a month – but it makes him feel fulfilled and, in a way, closer to his brother, who reminds him a lot of Moloughney.
“Being a part of this organization has helped me to grow a lot and allowed me to give back to the community, which is always an amazing feeling,” Cuthbert said. “I love it; I think it (the other programs and events) is a great way of combining a community of students contributing to the same cause.”
The Algonquin public relations students agree with that sentiment, and have created a campaign called AnyBuddy Can; which is in support of Best Buddies Canada. They hope to raise money and awareness to inspire friendships and inclusion for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Launched on March 20 at a boisterous launch in the Student Commons, the AnyBuddy Can campaign goal is to raise $30,000 through a series of events such as 90’s Reloaded, which is a ‘90s themed costume party taking place at the Happy Goat Coffee Co. April 7. The event will have karaoke, a 50/50 raffle, dancing and a photo booth for buddies and peer buddies to build their friendships.
“The ultimate goal of Best Buddies is to make every school and community across Canada more inclusive and accepting of people with an IDD.,” said Carissa Scharf, a first-year public relations student. “The Algonquin College public relations program is excited to be working with us in this incredible charity to raise funds and social awareness for people living with intellectual and developmental disabilities for the Best Buddies chapters across Ottawa.”