Club of the Week: Peer Pals

A Peer Pals event during the 2014-15 academic year. 

Connor Linskey, Herald Contributor

The purpose of RWU’s Peer Pals club is to host themed parties for a group of adults with varying intellectual and physical disabilities. The group works tirelessly to prepare for its most important event at the end of the year: prom. Peer Pals also takes many people with disabilities to athletic events at RWU because they have a tremendous amount of school spirit.
The club’s main focus is on its parties. The club only meets once or twice a semester to gather ideas from RWU students about events and fundraisers for the adults with disabilities. They are led by junior President Kathleen Smillie, sophomore Vice President Ali Griego, junior Public Relations Chair Sammi Thomas, junior Secretary Jessica Croak, and senior Treasurer Madison Mains. All club members put forth a great effort to help out a worthy cause.
“The best part of being a member of Peer Pals is the opportunity to be able to make a small gesture and fill a room of incredible individuals with so much laughter and happiness,” Croak said. “Peer Pals is more than a club: it is a legacy that RWU has upheld and something that I think has made a more inclusive environment for not only the individuals the club works [with], with but also the RWU community.”

The club has had parties to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and Thanksgiving. The St. Patrick’s Day party was an afternoon filled with arts and crafts and activities with the members of LIFE (a
program that supports adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities). The Thanksgiving event featured a Thanksgiving themed party with members of the Peer Pals club and LIFE. Last
semester, Peer Pals hosted their annual Halloween party. Club members wore costumes and participated in different activities and crafts with the guests. The club hopes to provide fun events to those who have struggled with various disabilities.
“I joined Peer Pals as a freshman with the intent to make a difference and be able to host parties and events for these individuals,” Croak said. 
The club has many committed members. Their meeting times vary by week. Peer Pals provides members and people with disabilities with moments they will never forget. All people in attendance go home from every event with smiles on their faces and joy in their hearts.