Brickie Buddies: A Place for All


Jackie Keefe

It all began at breakfast many years ago in the Joan Martin Cafe.  It was as simple as, “ Hi!  What’s your name?” and friendships started to grow.  As time passed, many of  these same students made their way up to Hobart High School and started participating in Unified Track.  Covid put a temporary stop to Unified Track, but that only made these Brickies more eager to spend time together. It was very apparent to the teachers involved that these students were forming genuine friendships and were eager for more opportunities to be together in addition to Unified Track. 

After some planning, meeting, and being granted a charter with Best Buddies International, Brickie Buddies was born.  Though Brickie Buddies are affiliated with Best Buddies, a one-to-one friendship organization for students with and without developmental disabilities, we have a few key differences. As Ms. Keefe and Mrs. Bell began meeting with the club, they found that for our Brickies, it was best to be a group friendship club instead of establishing one-to-one friendship matches.  As we all know, Brickies always pull together in unity for each other and because of that, our inaugural group of Brickie Buddies from 2021-2022 voted to keep the group open and about creating an environment of inclusivity and friendship for all.  The best way to describe the club comes from the members themselves who took some time to talk with the club sponsors about what is the best part about the club.

Second year club member,  Junior, Thomas Martin shared, “ I joined Brickie Buddies to continue to make connections with the students from Joan Martin that I had a mentorship program with.  I have seen several students grow [through Brickie Buddies] as well as myself and that has been amazing.”  Martin continued further with, “several members of Brickie Buddies and I are great friends.  I have enjoyed being a part of this club and getting to continue to have friendships with them as we continue our education.”  For Thomas this club has brought things full circle as he was one of the original students at Joan Martin to be a peer mentor. Another returning Brickie Buddie, Junior, Andrew Renn shared that he loves Brickie Buddies because he, “gets to hang out with friends.” 

While returning senior, Tessa White added, “I like to play games [at Brickie Buddies with my friends].”  As our second year as a fully established club,  some new members have joined us and offered why they decided to join in as a new member. One such member is Senior, Noah Miller.  Noah described how he decided to join Brickie Buddies because he was going through a hard point and coming to Brickie Buddies made him feel better.  Noah expressed,

 One of the newest  Brickie Buddies, Freshman, Bryce Kennard happily announced that he loves Brickie Buddies because, “ I got to make a new friend, Noah.”  And that is just what Brickie Buddies is about.  Establishing friendship that comes full circle over time. 

Brickie Buddies meets at the high school during voice and choice on Tuesdays and is open to all students.  Participation is designed to be flexible for all club members. Anyone can join throughout the school year.  In addition to during the school day club meetings, Brickie Buddies also organizes monthly after school activities, fundraisers, service projects/events, and disability awareness activities. 

If you wish to join contact Ms. Jackie Keefe or Mrs. Kriste Bell