Building bridges with Saddleback’s Superfriends

Saddleback Superfriends meeting on Sept. 27 | by Lizeth Tello

Superfriends held their Fall kick-off on Monday, Sept. 13 and are looking for new members

The Superfriends club’s first official meeting occurred on Monday, Sept. 13, in Village 29-2. The club is open to everyone, including those without a disability, and encourages anybody who is interested to join.

During the meeting, various topics were discussed including plans for future events, such as their annual Halloween and Christmas parties, and other event ideas. The club is currently attempting to organize their group and leadership positions and strives to be a place where people can feel like they belong and be themselves.

The purpose of the Superfriends club is to give students with disabilities social, academic, service and leadership opportunities. It aims to promote interaction between students with or without disabilities to build a safer and more supportive environment. 

Superfriends first emerged “over 12 years ago,” said professor Mike Hoggatt, chair of special programs and services at Saddleback and advisor of the Superfriends club. Members of the club seek to diminish any negative assumptions about people with disabilities through service and leadership.

Before Superfriends, there was another club that was associated with the national Best Buddies program, which offers help with friendships, integrated employment and leadership development. More information about the Best Buddies programs can be found on the Best Buddies International website

Unfortunately, some of the Best Buddies requirements did not work at the collegiate level, thus the previous club had to be closed down and Superfriends emerged.

Due to the pandemic, the club did go online for about a year and a half, but is now able to do in-person meetings once again. Members are required to wear masks and do their best to follow the new regulations. The new rules will affect future plans, but the club is determined to work around this.

“The restrictions are, of course, not preferred. However, it’s completely understandable given the current status of the COVID-19 virus,” said professor Stacy Eldred, instructor for the OASIS program and co-advisor of Superfriends. “So yes, it’s going to be a little bit different in some pieces for our events, but nothing that we aren’t able to be flexible and adapt to.”

In the past, events organized by the club would take place inside and be attended by hundreds of people. Such large-scale parties are not recommended during this time, so Superfriends club members are looking to do something a little more low-key. All future events are now going to be outside and most likely have limited capacity.

“Things are just so unpredictable right now. In the past, we’ve had a really good present opportunity for students to keep getting involved and stay engaged,” Hoggatt said. “As with COVID, things have obviously been different.”

Members hope that things will eventually go back to normalcy. For now, everyone within the club is working together to adjust and adapt. They are optimistic and ready to face the future, including Noah Torgeson.

Torgeson is a returning member of Superfriends and has been attending Saddleback for a few years, after being signed up with the help of the Adult Transition program. He and his fellow members can’t wait for the annual parties they plan to host and look forward to many great moments they are sure to experience within the group.

“Probably the Halloween party, if we are able to have it,” Torgeson said while sharing his favorite event. “I’m just the keeping technology guy and keeping the music, depending on if we are indoors or outdoors.”

New ideas are being discussed and all suggestions are welcome. Leadership positions are also now open to all members. Meetings take place every other Monday at 1:30 p.m in Village 29-2 and new members are welcome anytime throughout the semester.

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  1. Lizeth Tello