Chelsea De Luca '20: SLU Best Buddies

Chelsea De Luca ‘20

 

 

This week we talked to Chelsea De Luca, a freshmen from Ottawa who is making a big impact here on campus. Chelsea recently created a club called SLU Best Buddies, which is a promoter chapter for the greater organization. Here is what she has to say about her experience with Best Buddies, along with why she decided to start the club here at SLU!

 

Can you describe Best Buddies and the history of the organization?

 

Best Buddies is “the world’s largest organization dedicated to ending the social, physical and economic isolation of the 200 million people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).” This is the broad definition of the international organization.

 

At SLU we are a promoter chapter, and one of our focuses will be on raising money for the organization through different events over the course of the year. Our greatest goal integrates the organization’s mission statement, which will be to educate people about what intellectual and developmental disabilities are as well as what they are not.

 

Can you tell us a little bit about why you decided to start this club on campus? Do you have any previous experiences that made you want to start SLU Best Buddies?

 

I was first introduced to Best Buddies in high school, where I was the President of our chapter.  The experiences I gained through that program were unforgettable and had such a positive impact on our community that I wanted to continue my involvement into my college years. Also, as I mentioned before, our biggest goal of the club is educating people which is something I am extremely passionate about. The fact that people still use the term “retarded” in a derogatory way is something that has to change, and having a Best Buddies club at SLU is our part in that battle.

 

What are your plans for SLU Best Buddies within the community?

 

Since we are building the foundation of our club, we don’t have any huge plans yet. However, our main focus will be to create awareness while also getting involved in the local community. In the future, we hope to work with other organizations such as NYSARC and the Canton High School. On campus, we are trying to collaborate with as many different clubs as we can while we are still getting our name out there. We are also planning a movie night to show “Where Hope Grows” (a film that features mental disability) in the fall semester!

 

What other clubs are you a part of here at SLU?

 

In addition to Best Buddies, I am the Events Coordinator of the Humane Society Club, a member of our Her Campus chapter, and in the fall I will be a Tour Guide for Admissions!