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The Buddy Program

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Overview



The Buddy Program is a community-based program that was initiated by Dr. Leonard Jason and Jennifer Shlaes at DePaul University in 1996. This program was developed to offer companionship and practical assistance to individuals suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), Fibromyalgia (FMS), and Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS).This assistance is provided by a buddy, a volunteer that provides support and understanding to people with these illnesses. Volunteers offer different kinds of supportive behavior, such as emotional support by being empathetic, trustful and good listeners. They also provide practical support by helping their buddies in any direct way, such as organizing files, writing letters, or creating photo albums.



Many people with CFS, MCS, and/or FMS lose the support of family and friends due to negative attitudes about these illnesses. The Buddy Program not only contributes to the social support network of individuals with these illnesses but it also seeks to educate the community about them, reducing the stigma and skepticism that accompanies these poorly understood chronic illnesses.

Our Mission

The mission of the Buddy Program is to provide consistent, quality support to individuals suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome, Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, and Fibromyalgia, to decrease their physical strain and exertion as well as their involuntary social isolation. The Buddy Program aims to educate not only its volunteers but also our community about these illnesses that are undermined in our society.

The Buddy Program also includes a research component. We are interested in how social support affects individuals with CFS. We ask that those who participate in the Buddy Program fill out a confidential questionnaire before they begin the program, and again four months later. We hope that this research will serve as support for the creation of additional Buddy Programs in the future.

  

Improving the quality of life for people with CFS, FM & CMS

Created By Mafe Andrews, July 17, 2006