On behalf of Best Buddies Pennsylvania, I wanted to point out that those Peer Buddies participating in the gardening programs in the Pine-Richland School District referenced in the article "Special Education Students Get Grounded in the Garden" (May 18) are actually members of Best Buddies, an international nonprofit organization.
In our programs, people with disabilities are matched in a one-to-one friendship with one of their peers. We have 20 programs in the Western Pennsylvania area, consisting of 11 colleges, eight high schools and one middle school - Pine-Richland. There are Best Buddies programs in more than 40 countries, in all 50 states, and Pennsylvania alone has approximately 2,000 volunteers, with offices in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.
Additionally, Best Buddies offers an online e-mail friendship program called e-Buddies. Volunteers are matched with a person with a disability, and the pairs commit to e-mailing each other once a week for at least a year. It is free for people with disabilities to participate in e-Buddies. To sign up, visit www.ebuddies.org.
For more information on our programs, please visit http://www.bestbuddies.org/, or contact the local office, on Mount Washington, at 412-432-5913.
Program Manager, Best Buddies Pittsburgh