TULSA, Okla. — She's a mom on a mission.
Jennifer Sollars-Miller is doing all she can to help Oklahomans with intellectual and developmental disabilities, or IDD, find "best buddies."
"It's not only for individuals with special needs, but also typical individuals to be those friends," Sollars-Miller said. "So, it's really for everyone."
Founded 31 years ago, Best Buddies is a worldwide nonprofit devoted to providing opportunities for friendship, employment, leadership development, and including living for those with IDD.
It's something Sollars-Miller knows all about. Her 22-year-old son has multiple disabilities.
"I saw the gaps and needs in Oklahoma, and there are a lot of them," she said.
When she heard Best Buddies was expanding to Oklahoma, she quickly jumped aboard. Now, she's spearheading the effort to spread the word about all the good things this group can do and the friendships it creates.
Because of the pandemic, a lot can be done online. Sollars-Miller says just becoming a pen pal with someone is a life changing event.
"They feel isolated. They feel excluded. They feel lonely," she said.
Sollars-Miller's goal is to have a Best Buddies chapter in every school.
"Start teaching students at a young age about inclusion, and understanding differences and abilities," she said. "And recognizing that everyone has something to offer."
Sollars-Miller says Best Buddies is very well known in other states, and she's hoping the good people of Oklahoma will respond and welcome those with IDD into their lives.
"It's about creating a relationship, a meaningful and long lasting relationship with someone," Sollars-Miller said.
For more information about Best Buddies, click here.
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