Mequon, and son Peter both are benefitting from the Best
Bo Dowsettís always been a friend to the volunteer community. But
it was the nonprofit Best Buddies program that cemented that
relationship. The mission of the international program founded in 1989
by Anthony Kennedy Shriver is to foster "one-to-one friendships
and integrated employment" for those with intellectual
That resonated with Dowsett, whose son Peter, 15, is a
special-needs freshman at Homestead High School. "His main
motivation is his regular-needs friends," says the Mequon mother
Plus, she says, the Peters of the world offer unconditional
acceptance, particularly crucial in the high school years. "In my
heart of hearts, I wanted to encourage those friendships. Itís a
wonderful gift to give them, to have a friend whoís a little bit
So when she learned about Best Buddies, she helped start the
Homestead chapter in spring 2006 and now serves on the state
board. "Iím involved with Best Buddies Wisconsin because I just
see the need for it, not only in the high school, but to expand it to
Dowsett says Peterís been lucky ó heís had a
"regular-needs" best friend for years in Corey Andrus.
"They were best buddies before the program started. Not all kids
are fortunate to have that."
But many want it, as Dowsett learned as the Homestead program was
getting off the ground. "It was just amazing to me to hear the
regular-needs kids talking and saying so-and-so is so cool.
"Iíve had a lot of volunteer experience. I think you get to
a point where itís got to be meaningful." Itís got to make a
difference, she says. "This really will. Best Buddies will. State
by state, weíre changing things."