Best Buddies advocate receives scholarship for his work promoting inclusion

The York Catholic District School Board congratulates Steven Tomlinson for receiving the Best Buddies’ James Raymond Cowling High School Scholarship. Steven is a recent alumnus of St. Jean de Brebeuf CHS and is currently studying computer programming at Centennial College in Toronto.

Steven was nominated for the scholarship by Joanne Spizzirri, a teacher at his former high school. While at St. Jean de Brebeuf, Steven was heavily involved with the school’s Best Buddies program and advocated for ‘Buddies’ in his school. He proudly wore his Best Buddies T-shirt, and would promote inclusion by inviting everyone in the school’s Best Buddies chapter to every meeting to ensure that all of their voices and opinions were heard.

Steven was also involved in some of Best Buddies biggest events, including its annual Leadership and Development Conference and its 2015 Thrill of the Ascot fundraiser, which raised $375,000 for the charitable organization.

The Best Buddies program has thrived in York Catholic schools. The program pairs students with intellectual disabilities with another student from the school, who shares similar interests. The student without intellectual disabilities develops a better understanding of their Buddy, their unique strengths and challenges they may face. The Buddy with intellectual disabilities makes a new friend and usually gets to take part in experiences that many people take for granted, such as going to a movie or having a coffee with a friend.