Many at Binghamton University feel lucky to have One Special World, a club that aims to destigmatize special needs. The club was founded by Danielle Preiser in Bellmore, NY, in 2009 and has grown since then, finding success at BU as well. Through volunteer work, the club celebrates differences and creates a community where everyone is welcomed and supported, regardless of their individual needs.

Through fundraising, the organization’s overall goal is to build a group home for adults with special needs and developmental disabilities with live-in staff. One resident of the home will be the founder’s brother, Jonathan, who has Fragile X Syndrome and inspired the organization’s founding. So far, they have raised over $40,000 that has gone to Fragile X Syndrome research, as well as around $40,000 for the group home.

Julie Pulewitz, co-president of One Special World at Binghamton and a sophomore majoring in philosophy, politics and law, has had what she described as an unbelievable experience with the club for many years. Pulewitz got involved with One Special World when looking for a way to get more involved with her community during high school.

“My high school was the only one that has the club, and BU is the only university with One Special World, so I’m really happy to continue with it through college,” Pulewitz said.

The club holds different events where students can get involved, one being a recent Halloween party with Gigi’s Playhouse Southern Tier

Similar to One Special World’s mission of destigmatizing special needs, Gigi’s Playhouse aims to change the way people view Down syndrome, encouraging acceptance and providing free support with education and careers to individuals with Down syndrome and their families. One Special World partnered with Gigi’s Playhouse right before Halloween to have a party, creating an accepting community and forming new friendships.

Alongside Gigi’s staff and volunteers, around 15 One Special World club members ran bingo, pumpkin painting, tic-tac-toe, a photo booth, a freeze dance, a fashion show and more activities while bonding with friends and family. Lauren Wexler, treasurer of the club and a sophomore majoring in business administration, spoke about the beginning of her journey with One Special World.

“I got involved with One Special World because I was inspired by other members who spoke about the impact it made on them,” Wexler said. “All of the families were so happy for us to be there, and I loved meeting everybody!”

A new club member, Efrat Romano, a sophomore majoring in human development, enjoyed their time at the party.

“I really loved connecting with people at Gigi’s Playhouse,” Romano said. “It was fun to watch everyone make new friends and get involved!”

One Special World has monthly meetings on Wednesday nights where the club brainstorms fundraisers and events — like the Halloween party.

“We’re always looking for new club members and to spread awareness,” Pulewitz said.

Past events have included a hockey game and fashion shows to raise money for the group home, and the club has held educational seminars to teach members and other students about developmental disabilities and special needs.

Those interested in getting involved can contact Donations can also be made to One Special World through their website,, where every donation will go directly toward building the group home.