Imagine & Best Buddies: Semester in Review

A member of Imagine holds a blanket she made for Cancer Comfort Angels and a member of Best Buddies with her buddy.

Imagine Students Reaching Out

Mariele Ventrice ’12 

Imagine logo.Imagine Students Reaching Out, Emerson’s community service focused student organization, has been busier than ever this fall. With over 30 dedicated members contributing to the group’s service initiatives, Imagine has been able to extend a helping hand to an array of community partners this semester.

Imagine beganthe year by sending a small team of members to Pine Street Inn to help prepare lunch for more than 400 people relying on the shelter for a meal. Our members had a great time in the kitchen chopping vegetables with the helpful and friendly Pine Street Inn employees. For our next project, we assembled back-to-school kits at Cradles to Crayons, a partner we’ve worked with several times in the past, at their new Giving Factory in Brighton. We also sorted donations at Room to Grow and helped with grounds maintenance at St. Ambrose Family Inn, both organizations we’ve enjoyed working with in the past. Imagine members also participated in Emerson Action Day on November 11th and sent books to inmates through the Prison Book Program later this month.

Members of Imagine assemble a no-sew blankets.

Members of Imagine assemble a no-sew blankets.

One of our biggest initiatives this semester was our “no-sew” blanket project through which we made 25 fleece blankets for cancer patients undergoing Stage Four chemotherapy. The idea was brought to the group by one of our members, Katie Ruggiero, as part of a larger program coordinated by an organization called Cancer Comfort Angels. On October 30th, Katie proudly presented our colorful blankets at the Cancer Comfort Angels “Walk for Renewed Hope” in Stevensville, MD.

We were also able to co-sponsor two great events this semester, the National Cupcake Bake-a-Thon sponsored by She’s the First to support girls’ education in Guatemala and the There’s No Color Like Pink benefit event to support the fight against breast cancer.

We have two more exciting events before the semester is over. We are working with Best Buddies and Imagine member Dori Levit to co-host a fundraiser to bring comedian Alan Shain to Emerson in an effort to spread understanding of the lives of people living with disabilities. At the fundraiser, Andrew Pilkington, a filmmaker with cerebral palsy, will be giving a special presentation, and guests will enjoy comedy performed by Emerson’s Griff O’Brien. The event will be held on December 6thfrom 8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. in the Billy Bordy Theater.

Lastly, Imagine is thrilled to be putting on a holiday benefit show in collaboration with Emerson sophomore Kiersten Rusden. The open-mic style benefit event will feature several Emerson performers, and all proceeds from the event will go toward creating holiday gift packages for recovering patients at the Malvern Institute for Drug Rehabilitation. We’ve decided on an “ugly sweater” theme and will be providing free food and festive decorations to add to the holiday spirit. The event will be held on Wednesday, December 7th from 8 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. in the Beard Room.

Best Buddies

Dori Levit ’14

On September 25th, the Emerson College chapter of Best Buddies held a Friendship Ceremony to recognize their 2011-12 Buddy Pairs. These Buddy Pairs are carefully selected by considering personality characteristics, interests, and hobbies. The Emerson College members and their buddies gathered again on October 30th for a Halloween party at the Best Buddies house in Brookline, MA. At the party, the group decorated masks, baked cookies, and participated in a donut eating and mummy toilet paper-wrapping contests.

Members of the Best Buddies house gather for the Fall 2011 Friendship Ceremony.

Members of the Best Buddies house gather for the Fall 2011 Friendship Ceremony.

Best Buddies Emerson is an organization that pairs adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities in one-to-one friendships with Emerson College students. By becoming a College Buddy, volunteers offer a Peer Buddy the chance to explore a new way of life and make lasting friendships. Best Buddy student members acquire life lessons on acceptance, tolerance, and understanding that are truly inspiring and invaluable for all who participate.

Next semester Best Buddies, Imagine, Kidding Around, and Speak Up are coming together to sponsor an Emerson-directed show called “Running Upstream” that centers around a boy with physical disabilities. We will also be bringing in a comedian/social activist with cerebral palsy, Alan Shain, who will perform his uniquely inspiring stand-up comedy.

Attend the Best Buddies Emerson Fundraiser  on December 6th at 8:00 p.m.

Attend the Best Buddies Emerson Fundraiser on December 6th at 8:00 p.m.

Together we are hoping that these two performances will reach out to Emerson students and the Boston community to support Best Buddies International and their mission: to encourage the leadership, inclusion, and equality of people with disabilities.

We will be having a fundraiser on December 3rd in the Bill Bordy from 8:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. to help with the funds to bring in Alan Shain from Canada. Our very own Griff O’Brien will be performing stand-up comedy, and student Andrew Pilkington from the University of Rhode Island will be demonstrating his own devices and techniques he uses to make his films.
Andrew also has cerebral palsy and is the president of Ruby Andromeda Productions. We would love for anyone interested to attend this fundraiser and support our cause.

If you have any questions about Best Buddies or our events, you can visit our Facebook page or email dori_levit@emerson.edu.

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