Maui News

Mayor honored by Baldwin Best Buddies Program

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Maui Mayor Charmaine Tavares was honored by more than 40 members of the Baldwin High School Best Buddies program who visited the County Building on Monday.

Michael McCormick, State Director of the Best Buddies (BB) program, which matches up special education and general education students in one-to-one friendships called “buddy pairs,” recognized Tavares for her role in helping the program get its start in Hawaii.  Tavares was also credited with providing County funding for the Baldwin High School BB program. The programs have since sparked other Best Buddies Hawaii chapters at King Kekaulike High School, Seabury Hall and Lokelani Intermediate School on Maui.

Managing Director Sheri Morrison accepts a certificate of recognition on behalf of Mayor Charmaine Tavares from Baldwin High School Best Buddies (L-R) Buddy Director Shaun Labang, “Buddy” Rachel Barrett, and (far right) Best Buddies Chapter President Heather Paranada. Photo courtesy County of Maui.

Baldwin High School history teacher Ted Lusk (standing, right) and Baldwin High School Best Buddies students visited the County Building Monday to learn about the structure and day-to-day operations of County government. Photo courtesy County of Maui.

“Mayor Tavares believed in the value of the Best Buddies program, and provided our initial funding in fiscal year 2009,” McCormick said. “Without Mayor Tavares’ help, we would not be here today, making a tremendous difference here in Hawaii. We continually hear words of appreciation from parents, family members and teachers who have witnessed the many ways Best Buddies changes children’s lives for the better, and this is the biggest reward of all,” said McCormick.

Best Buddies Hawaii is affiliated with Best Buddies International, a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.


For more information on Best Buddies programs, visit

(Information courtesy County of Maui)


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