HAMILTON, Ohio — The pandemic kept many feeling isolated, but one group is giving people with developmental disabilities a "Best Buddy" to help change that. 

What You Need To Know

  • The "Best Buddies" program pairs someone with developmental disabilities with someone without them 

  • Through the program, the pair goes on outings together and keeps each other company 

  • The program inspired one mom to walk with the entire neighborhood

Kelly Horne, 22, can’t talk, but because of what she’s going through, her mom, Judy Horne, takes care of her around the clock.

“She has apraxia, which means she doesn’t have any communication skills (and) verbal communication skills. She has cerebral palsy, which affects her gate and movement,” said Judy.

But she said her daughter needs more than just her. 

“Everybody needs independence. Everybody needs friends. Everybody needs someone other than their mother,” said Judy

That's when they met Danielle Haynes.  

“I met Kelly at the pool and she was sunbathing like a model,” said Best Buddy Haynes. "She was not interested in me at all, then I met her mom Judy, and we hit it off."

Danielle and Kelly would become friends for almost a year.

“You have to really know the person and when to push and not push, and not get your feelings hurt, so we roll with it, and when she’s smiling, it makes me happy,” said Haynes.

The two were paired together through a program called “Best Buddies," which pairs someone without a disability with someone who has one, and the two get to do what best friends do. 

“Besides the pool, I think our first outing, we went to Skyline,” said Haynes. 

Their friendship inspired mom Judy to walk with the whole neighborhood.

“Oh my goodness we had a lot of people,” said Judy.

The walk helped raise money and awareness to the "Best Buddies" program helping people like her daughter, and the fundraising is ongoing

“Taking care of somebody like Kelly, it’s a blessing. It’s a joy,” said Judy.