Viking Buddies:Where Friendships and Inclusion Meet

When one walks into room 223 for a Viking Buddies meeting, they are immediately greeted by a plethora of warm welcomes. Ms. Roche and Ms. Witman, the club advisers, strive to create an environment where all students can feel accepted and seen.

“It gives a safe space for people with and without disabilities to come together and participate in activities, build friendship, and feel connected to peers,” Ms. Roche said. 

Through events like the Vikings Unite Game, the annual Santa Mall trip, and the Polar Plunge, students with intellectual and developmental disabilities can have vital life experiences and form strong relationships with their classmates. 

 “Just to see the parents of my special education students when they see their kid interacting with their typical peers at the mall or at mini golf, and getting to see the joy on their face that their child is getting a typical experience that they may not have thought they could have, it makes me want to keep doing it,” Ms. Roche said. 

With an influx of applications every year, Viking Buddies has positively impacted the student body. 

“We build great friendships,” Yohana Gabriel, a two-year member, said. “This club has a bunch of different types of people from everywhere that can all come together and we all have a great time.”

Viking Buddies sets students on a path toward furthering their efforts in creating inclusive atmospheres in and outside of PV. 

“It’s fun and exciting and I get to make new friends,” Bella Haddad, a member, said.

Majority of club members are inspired to take Peer Buddies, strengthening existing friendships. 

“It gives me a really good feeling to know that there is such an interest here at PV,” Mrs. Roche said.