Dozens of students “glammed” it up Sunday at , where held its sixth annual Girls’ and Guys’ afternoon.
For some, there were cosmetic makeovers, haircuts, manicures and facials going on while others teens “bowled” and played other interactive electronic games or chowed down on pizza. The afternoon was capped by a personal appearance by Angie Sparrow, Miss Illinois USA.
The Romeoville chapter of the international organization presented the event as a way to give special education students a fun outing with their general education counterparts.
“It’s an international nonprofit organization founded by Anthony Kennedy Shriver,” said Matthew Vail, senior program manager for Best Buddies Illinois. "Our mission is to create opportunities for one-to-one friendships for people with intellectual disabilities."
Vail said special education and general education students, paired up through the program, regularly attend events, talk on the phone or just hang out together.
“This (event) is specifically the Romeoville chapter. Every chapter has a monthly group activity,” he said. “This is a particularly stellar event. Romeoville is an outstanding chapter. They just go all out all the time. They’re really concerned with the quality of the friendships.”
Vail said a total of 80 students from Romeoville, Lockport and Bolingbrook schools were expected to attend.
Vivian DelReal, a junior general education student, is “best buddies” with Maranda Way, a freshman special education student. Both attend Romeoville high.
“I’ve been doing it for three years,” said DelReal. “It sounded fun. I always wanted to do something.
DelReal and Way each got makeup applications before moving on to get their nails done together.
While makeup artists applied glitter, shadow and shimmer, other volunteers gave participants facials and haircuts. Several professional stylists from Ulta were on hand. Ulta, which has a , also donated gift bags and an assortment of cosmetics for the event. supplied video equipment and gaming supplies, along with store personnel who assisted players.
Stephanie Hill, whose mother, Mary Ann Hill, is a special education teacher at Romeoville High School, got the Girls’ and Guys’ afternoon started when she was just a sophomore at the school. She’s now a senior at where she studies English education.
“We have this big Best Buddies conference,” Stephanie Hill said, explaining that’s where she got the initial inspiration.
She said the group’s request for help from Ulta was met with enthusiasm.
“They gave us so much stuff that it was incredible,” she said. “To see everyone smiling makes everything the best.”
Judy Lynn, a special education paraprofessional at Romeoville high who was recently named the Best Buddy adviser of the year for 2011, said she is grateful for all the community support.
“We have wonderful volunteers. It’s a tremendous outpouring from the community,” Lynn said. “We’re just delighted we have this many participants.”