Navid Rakie and Daniel Schwartz are best buddies, which is fitting given that they met through the Best Buddies program at UCLA. The two participated in a talent and fashion show last week put on by the club.
Rakei: We spent time together, we got coffee, and once he laughed at my jokes I knew we were going to be good friends. Nobody laughs at my jokes.
Hamilton: Navid Rakie, a 2nd year Biology student felt like something was missing in his life until he decided to join Best Buddies. It’s a club on campus that pairs a UCLA student with another UCLA student or alumni with intellectual and developmental disabilities. He and Daniel Schwartz, a UCLA alumnus who graduated in 2008, chose each other as buddies.
Hamilton: The two just participated in a fashion and talent show that the club put on. Josh Sarna, a 3rd year chemistry student and vice president of Best Buddies, helped organize this event.
Sarna: Mainly the idea there is just to give all of our buddies a chance to show the world what it is that they find beautiful or impressive about themselves and let them be defined on their own terms rather than by a disability or anything else.
Hamilton: Schwartz decided that he and Rakei would dress as women and do a skit.
Rakei: Daniel is the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen, in a wig with makeup on. Really brings out your foundation.
Hamilton: Schwartz snuck into his mother’s closet when she went out to get her nails done and took a skirt to wear to the show. Rakei also got on stage wearing a maxi skirt and crop top. The two were fabulous-looking. They took turns telling jokes and did a dance to “I’m too sexy”. The audience was pretty confused at first though because Schwartz introduced his girlfriend as Natalie but it was really Rakei dressed as a woman. But when “I’m too sexy” by Right Said Fred came on and the two started shaking their hips, the audience couldn’t stop laughing.
Sarna: What you said to me is that you were looking forward to showing your sensitive side.
Hamilton: And showing off their sensitive side is exactly what they did. This isn’t Schwartz’s first event though. He is definitely an all-star buddy.
Schwartz: I was lead director of Best Buddies in high school, then I was director of Best Buddies UCLA and I’ve been involved with Best Buddies for 10 or 11 years.
Hamilton: Rakei and Schwartz have only been friends for a couple weeks but have managed to find plenty of adventures to do together.
Rakei: We went to the mall, we got coffee, and stayed in See’s candies for half an hour just eating the samples. I think we are going to plan on bowling, because I know you’re a big bowler. Get dinner, maybe some basketball. We have a lot more things in store then just coffee.
Hamilton: From the things they know about each other and the way they acted on stage, one could easily guess they’ve been friends for years.
Rakei: Daniel’s very honest in everything he says. If I do something he’ll be very straightforward with me. If I wear something silly he’ll be like, you know that’s not the nicest shirt on you. He also laughs at my jokes. He’s very humble and nice and very communicative.
Schwartz: He’s really funny. I like his jokes. And I like joking around with him as well. I really like being around him a lot.
Hamilton: Rakei and Schwartz are just one of many pairs in Best Buddies. Sarna said that Best Buddies has 45 pairs right now.
Sarna: We have about 110 people in our organization. That’s about 50 individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities and then 60 UCLA students.
Hamilton: Best Buddies has always been about making genuine friendships and the opportunity to make a friend that you otherwise would not have the ability to meet. This is Courtney Hamilton from Daily Bruin Radio.