South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

South Side program goes to great lengths to make e-buddies work


Lauren Taintor, manager for the Pennsylvania e-Buddies® program of Best Buddies Western PA, received a grant from Special Olympics to attend and promote the e-Buddies® program at the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Dublin, Ireland during June.

e-Buddies® creates e-mail friendships between people with and without intellectual disabilities and is one of five friendship programs created by Best Buddies International, a nonprofit organization that works to enhance the lives of people with intellectual disabilities. e-Buddies® are matched based on age, gender, and similar interests. Participation in e-Buddies builds computer, social, and communication skills for people with intellectual disabilities, in addition to providing an opportunity for friendship.

By introducing the e-Buddies® and Best Buddies programs at this year's Special Olympics World Games, Taintor was able to extend the opportunity for Best Buddies' one-to-one friendships to people with intellectual disabilities throughout the world.

Drawing more than 7,000 athletes, 2,000 coaches, and 30,000 volunteers from more than160 countries, familiar personalities who visited the Best Buddies' Booth included: Muhammad Ali, Loretta Claiborne, Eunice and Sargent Shriver, Maria Shriver, and Ireland's Prime Minister Taoiseach Bertie Ahern. According to Taintor, the goals of the Special Olympics and Best Buddies organizations complement each other and she is looking forward to working with them in the future.

Best Buddies International operates in 50 states and seven foreign countries. Best Buddies Western Pennsylvania is at 711 Bingham Street on the South Side, and currently has three active programs serving persons with intellectual disabilities: Best Buddies Colleges, Best Buddies High Schools, and e-Buddies®. Through these programs, Best Buddies seeks to enhance the lives of people with mental retardation by providing opportunities for one-to-one friendships.

More information is available by contacting this non-profit organization at or calling Nick Buchko at 412-432-5913.


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