A friends day to remember

Peer Mentor and Buddy Club, Interact Club volunteers pose for a group picture after returning home from You’ve Got a Friend Day.

On October 5, Norwin students involved with Peer Mentor and Buddy Club and Interact Club participated in the annual “You’ve Got a Friend Day.”  You’ve Got a Friend Day is a gathering of local high school students from the Pittsburgh who buddy up with students with functional needs from their own district and other schools to enjoy a day of fun and activities. The high school club students from local Pittsburgh schools and their buddies come together to enjoy each other’s company knowing it benefits each and every person.

Norwin clubs participate every year at the event at Twin Lakes and spend the day with their assigned special buddy for a fun day full of activities including: paddle boating, fishing, carnival games, train rides, hay rides, A DJ booth, bouncy houses, a petting zoo, etc.

Students gather on the pier to fish in Twin Lakes. (Aylee Hornstrom, Knight Krier)

“My favorite part of You’ve Got A Friend Day was definitely meeting new people and being able to learn about them and do things that they enjoy,” Aubrey Stoken, Interact Club member (12) said. “I definitely recommend that everyone should try to be involved with this day at least once. It gives you the opportunity to meet a variety of new people and just make their day by being their friend. You also get the opportunity to spend a whole day of school at a park, enjoying nature, playing games, etc.”

You’ve Got a Friend Day is a fun day for everyone to get to experience teamwork and creating new and meaningful friendships.

“I wanted to take part in something bigger than just myself,” Emily Davis (12), Peer Mentor Club member said. “I wanted to do my part to include others and do something nice for another person.”

Having students and volunteers participate in these event provides opportunities that for each and every person to show the importance of acceptance and interaction. It also gives the students some time off in school and to enjoy the presence of nature and socializing all while making a change.

“A lot of the kids are not able to participate in a lot of outdoor activities and the modified activities of paddle boating, hayrides and petting zoos gave them an opportunity to experience those activities,” Suhana Navalgund, Interact Club member said. “You’ve Got a Friend Day is  important because it lets us [Interact Club] experience different events with people from other schools and ‘interact’ with other students and schools.”

At the end of the students fun filled day it left everyone leaving with a smile on their face and a story to share.

Norwin students pose at Twin Lakes as the crew gets ready to paddle boat on the lake.

“I wanted to volunteer for this event because I have always had a special connection with kids with functional needs,” Anna DeFazio (12), Peer Mentor Club member said. “I am drawn to them, and I think that many of them are drawn to me, so it really is just a fun experience for everyone when we get to do things together. Those kids will always hold a very special place in my heart, and I am so grateful that Norwin provides opportunities like You’ve Got a Friend Day for everyone to participate in. I have personal relationship with many of them, and it is going to be really sad to leave them next year. I think this event left a really positive impact on the kids with functional needs. Many of the students made new friends, and will now recognize a friendly face in the halls. It seemed like the kids had a great time, and I hope that they realized that they will always have a friend!”

Mrs. Spang, Interact club advisor stated her opinion how much this event left a positive feedback for everyone.

“Everyone gets the chance to volunteer in a situation they might not normally get to do,” Mrs. Spang said. “Usually if you try something new once in a safe  environment you’re more likely to do it again.”