Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Pen Pal Program for T(w)eens

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Best Buddies E-Buddies E-Mail Pen-Pal Program

e-Buddies is an e-mail pen pal program that provides opportunities for e-mail friendships between people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) and their peers who do not have IDD. Each participant is matched in a one-to-one e-mail friendship, and matched pairs are asked to exchange e-mails once a week for at least one year. Matches are made based on similar age, gender, geography, and shared interests.

Best Buddies, an organization that works to provide individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities with inclusive opportunities, offers a unique program for teens and tweens. E-Buddies is an e-mail penpal program, where teens and tweens from all over the country are matched with a buddy with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) to begin regular penpal style communication via the internet. By participating in the program, both volunteers and individuals with IDD will benefit greatly. Volunteers will learn about what life is like with IDD, and will learn how to cultivate meaningful friendships. Buddies who have IDD can gain experience building friendships and communicating insight into their life and understanding of their world.

Open to children ages ten and older, the program is free for participants under the age of 18. Applicants are asked to provide references, as well as some basic information about themselves so that they can be well-matched with their buddy! Volunteers are matched with buddies who don’t live nearby but who share interests and/or personality traits. Sometimes it can take a while to make a good match, but volunteers are almost always paired with great matches!

Teens and tweens looking for an interesting service-learning project – and for a new friend – have much to gain by participating. Not only will they build a new relationship, but they will learn about what life is like for individuals with IDD and will learn to understand the role that those with IDD play in their community. Volunteers can complete an application online. For more information, visit the organization’s website,

One Comment on “Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Pen Pal Program for T(w)eens

  1. Hi.
    I’m in Australia and am looking at setting up something similar but a postal system . I’d be really interested in hearing about lessons learnt .
    Georgina Burke

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