Best Buddies Garden


Alexa McClain, Journalist

Towards the end of this last school year, the Best Buddies students received a garden, thanks to the Best Buddies President, Elisabeth Green. 


Best Buddies is a program dedicated to students with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The program here at Mountain Ridge helps those students to create friendships and a sense of support. The new garden set up is a way to help them to have fun and relax from the natural anxieties that they may feel from a hectic day. 


Essentially, this garden is, “…an extended classroom for those in our school with learning disabilities, and a place to gather with them and their typical peer buddies to make real connections,” says the program’s president. 


The garden contained only a small seating area until Elisabeth Green, senior, saw an opportunity to lavish the area with so much more potential! She spent months on end making sure to make this area between buildings C and CC something really special. 


With money donations from friends and girl scout members, and a huge donation received from Artificial Grass Masters, who donated artificial grass and shades, an inviting space was made possible. 


Elisabeth was able to collect games, build an activity wall, design team building activities, create seating for 20, and was able to acquire an adult swing. 


“The obstacles I faced were in communication”, says Elisabeth, “finding exactly who I needed to contact to get the authorization to progress in the installation.” She goes on to say, however, that to overcome these obstacles, she quickly learned that communication and persistence was key. “Eventually”, she says, “I got emails or the project’s approval, but I had to stay in constant communication.”  


The motivation that drove her to take on this big project aside from wanting the students to get to be a part of enriching activities was Girl Scouts. By Elisabeth putting together this graden, she was able to earn her Girl Scout Gold Award which is the highest award that can be received. To earn the gold award, Girl Scout members must have at least 80 hours of community service.  


With the new area, Elisabeth has noticed a positive switch in the students attending. She says, “I saw how many activities were available for the teachers of Best Buddies to use to engage with their students.” She continues on with noticing, “…how the students could decompress by sitting in the grass or in the swing.” 


Now, current and future Best Buddies students will get to enjoy a kind and welcoming garden thanks to the 2022-2023 president, Elisabeth Green.