About twelve years ago, I started a chapter of an organization called Best Buddies at my high school. The main mission of Best Buddies is to create inclusive friendships between those with intellectual and physical disabilities and other students.
In September 2010, Chantel and I were paired up as best buddies.
Some people find it hard to believe that our friendship is truly a two-way street. She has encouraged me through homemade cards in my locker in high school, helping me get through the week. She has recently shared with me that I have been a true friend and mentor to her. We truly have a beautiful friendship.
An example of a time when she has been there for me has been when life took a sharp turn. It was a very dark time in my life, and I was struggling. However, Chantel came to my side, and encouraged me to not give up. She was able to help me see the light at the end of the tunnel through her humor and hope.
We have also spoken at other schools, attended conferences, and met a few celebrities. However, there is nothing that I value more than the friendship Chantel and I have developed.
More recently, Chantel has gotten engaged to a young man named Brandon. Due to COVID-19 restrictions we have had to push the wedding off by two years. However, this July we will be celebrating their unconditional love for each other.
"Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at its wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth." —1 Corinthians 13
Chantel and Brandon have demonstrated this passage by always having patience and being there for one another. Chantel helps Brandon get ready for work, while he helps Chantel be more aware of the present moment.
To me, they truly exemplify what Jesus calls us to do. He calls us to serve one another. I have the pleasure of being Chantel's maid of honor, and I truly can't wait to see these two commit their lives to one another.
Chantel and I call each other sisters and have for a while. Sisters are typically people who are always in your life and understand you best. Chantel and I will always be good friends and sisters of the heart. We have an unbreakable bond that Jesus created and that will last a lifetime.
Naomi Epp and Chantel Silveria are originally from Dundas, Ontario. Naomi has completed education to be a Registered Massage Therapist and will soon be practicing at a wellness clinic. Chantel is a college graduate and has recently gotten married.