FunDay brings buddies together

Aloha, FunDay! The 24th annual FunDay took place on Saturday, where special citizens and UM students gathered together for a day of celebration and activities. Each student was paired with a disabled citizen from the community to be buddies for the day and spent time partaking in activities with a Hawaiian theme. Buddies got the opportunity to have a dance party on the Rock with a hula show performed by Miami’s Hui Aloha and learn how to hula dance and do arts and crafts. Buddies were separated into different groups and rotated from activity to activity throughout the day.

Freshman Danielle Hastings and her buddy Howard met for the first time Saturday.

“Howard’s favorite part was dancing,” Hastings said. “We went on stage at the Rock in front of everyone and danced to the YMCA song.”

Other activities included a bounce house, a barbeque, music therapy and a mystery theater where Quantum Entertainment performed scenes from Charlie Brown.

“This is the greatest FunDay we’ve had yet,” Walter Fajet, FunDay chair, said. “We’ve had great leadership and came together well, which helped FunDay become such a success this year.”

Fun Day has become more than just one day of service; long-lasting friendships often develop.

Alumni Cristie Rubin and special citizen Phillip Chai met 12 years ago when she was a student at UM, and the two have been buddies ever since. They have been attending FunDay since 1992, and have built a special relationship-Chai even attended her wedding a few years ago.

“Phillip is an easy-going person, and the most fun thing for him is dancing to music on the Rock,” Rubin said.

Rubin was the chair for FunDay in 1996, and she and Phillip come back every few years to participate in the festivities. The best part of the whole experience for Rubin is seeing the new relationships form between buddies.

“It is always awesome to see college kids meet special needs people for the first time,” Rubin said.

For more information on FunDay, contact the Butler Volunteer Services Center at 305-284-GIVE.

Amy DiLorenzo can be contacted at