The Buddies Ball Makes Pittsburgh a Brighter Place


The hottest ticket in town this past weekend was at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center as Best Buddies, an organization focused on providing opportunities and friendships for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, threw the most rocking party of the year, The Buddies Ball. The event welcomed Best Buddies participants, along with their buddies, to enjoy an evening of food, fun, and dancing…Oh the dancing. The event went well into the evening as the crowd tripped the night fantastic.

“Everyone waits all year for this event, they look forward it so much,” said Heather Shiwarski, Area Director for Best Buddies. “People are already asking me when next year’s ball is happening,”  Shiwarski laughed.

As I perused the dance floor, there was one thing that stuck out to me, no one cared about anything but having fun at that moment. For participants, and buddies, the essence of the evening was too pure for any distractions. I barely saw any cell phones, or selfies… Wait, I mean, it’s 2017, there were obviously cell phones and selfies being taken, but the focus was not on people telling the world how much fun they were having, it was actually about having fun. A lost art.

We’ve lost the ability to have fun without everyone else knowing about it. But, on this night, the updates took a small break for a noble cause. And for the buddies, it’s a moment they don’t get to have everyday. These events, and more importantly, these moments, resonate so much more deeply than a night out on the town for the everyday person. Their memories will carry them through challenges we may never face.

What Best Buddies does so well, more than I’ve seen in any other organization, is truly fuse people together for long-lasting friendships and opportunities that go far beyond the confines of the non-profit veil. Next up, the organization will host a friendship walk on April 22nd in North Hills. For more information on Best Buddies and how you can participate, Click Here.

Photos by Julie Kahlbaugh