By Theresa Whitfield
Catholic University’s chapter for Best Buddies, a nonprofit that fosters relationships between students and people with developmental disabilities, hosted a night of painting to showcase the talents of some of their buddies. Catholic University’s chapter mainly focuses on individuals with intellectual abilities. This event, which took place on early Sunday evening, gave everyone a chance to take a break from the stress of midterms to enjoy each other’s company, while also showing off their artistic skills.
Painting with the Best Buddies was an intimate and interactive event. Different tables were set up in the lower food court, and they were filled with various colors of paints, cups of water, with paint brushes were scattered all around. This event had about twenty five people in total, and each person that attended received their own canvas to paint and be creative. Regardless of personal talent, anyone who wished to join in was warmly welcomed.
Many of buddies have artistic talents, and President Beth McElhiney wanted to give these buddies a chance to shine. She commented on the fact that there is a widely held misconception many people believe that individuals with disabilities do not have talents as well. But this could not be more false, McElhiney stated.
“People with disabilities have special talents that might be hidden, like the sun behind a cloud,” said McElhiney, “but if you act as that gust of wind that moves away the cloud, you are enabling their talents to shine.”
One of the buddies, Helen, is an artist. Helen works at local art gallery, Art Enables, which provides artists with disabilities the training to become professionals and sell their artwork. Her favorite mediums to work in are watercolor and marker. This program is very selective, but there are currently two of Catholic’s buddies who are a part of this organization.
This event would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication the students in this club have to their buddies. Organizations like Best Buddies change the way that society views people with disabilities. By taking the time to get to know someone with disabilities, it becomes clear that all people are really the same on the inside, even if they seem different on the outside.