The Ranch Review

Club Helps Students Gain Social Skills and Independence

Mustang Buddies meet in room 601 every Tuesday.

Elissa Huynh

Mustang Buddies meet in room 601 every Tuesday.

Elissa Huynh, In-depth Editor

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The Mustang Buddies club helps special need students become more self-sufficient by socializing with general education students. Every Tuesday in room 601, they listen to music and hang out at the meetings.

Interacting with the general education students allows the special need students to gain social skills that can aid their transition to an independent life or to a group home.

“I think it’s a good experience to learn to work with special need students especially if it’s someone who’s going to teaching or you know any kind of social services or whatever else,” said Kenneth Ivary, Mustang Buddies advisor and math teacher. “You’re gonna run into a lot of people like that in those positions.”

The other club advisor is Janet Tope, who is a special education teacher. The new officers for this school year are Marissa Islas as president, Angel Vega as vice president, and Kiara Stevenson as secretary, treasurer, and DJ.

The students in the club get to know each other as there are new buddies every year, said Islas. They all eat together and meet new people.

“The best things for me is building relationships with the kids because I know that to them close bonds like that are very important and valuable,” said Islas. “Also getting to know them helps me to grow as well.”

Mustang Buddies gives people a chance to talk to the “buddies” and start conversations, said Dilnia Jabari, ORHS senior that attends club meetings. It is important for the Mustang and high school experience.

“I like to listen to music and socializing,” said Emmalie Villanueva, club member.

In 2011, Michelle Guerrero of the class of 2012 founded the Mustang Buddies club. It was part of the Best Buddies national organization but later became independent and called Mustang Buddies.

Special need students graduate at 18 but stay at school for four more years to take occupational classes for experience. During these years, they also get off-site learning. Along with this schooling, the club provides extra social skills.

The club is for the special need students to get used to socializing since some of them can barely talk, said Ivary. Mixing them up with other students helps them to progress so they can work at McDonalds or similar places for their life experience.


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Club Helps Students Gain Social Skills and Independence