e-Buddies

FRIENDSHIPS THROUGH TECHNOLOGY

PRESENTED BY 

Liz Smith - Deputy Director, e-Buddies Best Buddies International

BEST BUDDIES OVERVIEW
Social inclusion for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities 

Mission: To establish a global volunteer movement that creates

opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). 

Founded by Anthony Kennedy Shriver in 1989  International Non-Profit 

Presence in all 50 states and 50 countries Students and adults with and without IDD Participants with IDD ± Autism, Intellectual Disability, Fragile X, Williams Syndrome, etc. 

Participants 


BEST BUDDIES OVERVIEW

STATE OFFICES

INTERNATIONAL OFFICES 

         

Arizona California Connecticut Delaware Florida Hawaii Illinois Indiana Iowa Kentucky Maryland 

        

Massachusetts Nevada New York Pennsylvania Rhode Island Tennessee Texas Utah Virginia Wisconsin 

                 

Australia Argentina Canada Colombia Cuba Curaçao Denmark Ecuador Egypt England Finland France Germany Greece Ghana Guatemala Honduras Hong Kong Iceland 

                 

India  Ireland  Israel  Jordan  Kenya  Korea  Lebanon  Malaysia  Mexico Netherlands  New Zealand  Pakistan  Panama Peru Philippines Poland Qatar Russia Saudi Arabia

Scotland Singapore Spain St Kits & Nevis Sweden Tanzania Thailand Turkey United Arab Emirates Venezuela Vietnam

BEST BUDDIES OVERVIEW
Programs 

Friendship (one-to-one) 
 

Middle Schools, High Schools, Colleges Citizens e-Buddies Boston, Los Angeles, Miami Ambassadors 

Integrated Employment  

Leadership Development 

BEST BUDDIES OVERVIEW
Outcomes 

Participants with IDD 
  

Inclusion Social skills Self-advocacy Higher self-esteem and confidence Greater acceptance Special education careers Generational effect More inclusive and accepting 

Participants without IDD 
  

Society 

E-BUDDIES
E-mail pen pal program for people with IDD 

One-to-one e-mail friendships  

A person with IDD is matched in an e-mail friendship with someone without IDD in another state E-mails exchanged weekly Ted Leonsis Foundation 

Started in 1999 

E-BUDDIES
E-mail pen pal program for people with IDD 

Age: 10 and up  Setting: e-Buddies can be included in a classroom
curriculum or done at home 

Commitment: matched e-Buddies are asked to email each other once a week 

Cost: e-Buddies is always free for people with
intellectual and developmental disabilities

THE IMPORTANCE OF COMPUTER EDUCATION 

Computers/Internet are a part of society 
 

Keeping in touch with friends/family Getting a job Entertainment 

Independence  Confidence

OBSTACLES OF GETTING ONLINE* 

Cost  Literacy  Relevance

*Survey conducted by the FCC about internet use in 2009

THE BENEFITS OF E-BUDDIES 

Education 

e-Buddies can help participants develop skills in the following areas:
‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ Computer skills Communication skills Reading and writing skills Social skills 

 

Motivation IEP Benchmarks Easy to add to any curriculum

THE BENEFITS OF E-BUDDIES 

Safety 

All applicants are screened
‡ References ‡ Background checks 



All communication is via our E-mail System All participants are matched in different states
‡ In person meetings are not allowed

THE BENEFITS OF E-BUDDIES 

Comfortable place to communicate  

Social anxiety that accompanies in-person communication is not relevant for e-mail friendships Participants can communicate at their own pace e-Buddies get to make a new friend with someone they would likely have never met 

Fun! 

HOW E-BUDDIES WORKS 

Joining e-Buddies   

To join all participants fill out the online application at www.ebuddies.org Each person needs an e-mail address and contact information for three references Parental consent is needed for underage applicants

HOW E-BUDDIES WORKS
www.ebuddies.org

HOW E-BUDDIES WORKS 

Application Process 


Can take 1-3 weeks After references respond and screening completed, applicant is approved Once approved, staff begin working to find a match e-Buddies are matched based on age, gender and similar interests 

Matching Process  

HOW E-BUDDIES WORKS 

E-mail System  

 

Filters out personal identifying information (phone number, address, etc.) Filters out vulgar language Let¶s users participate without giving their real e-mail address to their e-Buddies Automatic reminders are sent after 15 and 22 days without e-mailing

HOW E-BUDDIES WORKS

E-MAIL SYSTEM

liz@gmail.com

ebuddy@ebuddies.org jennifer@hotmail.com

Both participants send and receive e-mails to/from ebuddy@ebuddies.org. The E-mail System recognizes the email addresses and forwards to the appropriate e-Buddy.

HOW E-BUDDIES WORKS
Groups for classes or agencies 

Group applications available 


Shorter applications for each participant Group profiles created that allow you to:
‡ View your group's roster ‡ Add new participants to the group ‡ Track and read e-mail exchanges between participants

GROUP ADMINISTRATION
Managing e-Buddies Members

JOIN E-BUDDIES! 

  

Safe Fun Easy Free

QUESTIONS 

Liz Smith Deputy Director, e-Buddies lizsmith@bestbuddies.org  www.ebuddies.org  www.bestbuddies.org