The Buddy Walk® was established in 1995 by the National Down Syndrome Society to celebrate Down Syndrome Awareness Month in October and to promote acceptance and inclusion of people with Down syndrome. Today, the Buddy Walk program is supported nationally by NDSS and organized at the local level by parent support groups, schools and other organizations and individuals.
Over the past seventeen years, the Buddy Walk program has grown from 18 walks to over 300 expected in 2016 across the country and around the world. Last year alone, 315,000 people participated in a Buddy Walk! They raised more than $13 million to benefit local programs and services as well as the national advocacy initiatives that benefit all individuals with Down syndrome.
The Buddy Walk is approximately one-mile in which anyone can participate without special training. It is an inspirational and educational event that celebrates the many abilities and accomplishments of people with Down syndrome. Whether you have Down syndrome, know someone who does, or just want to show your support, come and join a Buddy Walk in your local community!
We are thrilled to announce Whole Children and Milestones as a sponsor of our 2024 Buddy Walk. Please read more about them and how they support our community.
Back in 2004 a group of mothers of children with a range of disabilities came together with one common purpose: to create a place where their children were welcomed, supported and taught in a way that worked for them.
That place became Whole Children, an afterschool and weekend program featuring classes including martial arts, performing arts, gaming, yoga, relationship support, and cooking.
“Sometimes you just need to be in a place where people say, ‘Oh, he’s wonderful. Isn’t he just beautiful and perfect and wonderful and look at all the things he can do’,” said Carrie McGee, Whole Children’s founder and the parent of a son with Williams syndrome.
Whole Children is all that and more – classes offer opportunities for learning crucial social skills that allow children to be successfully included in their community. It also is a place where friendships are made and sustained.
Over the 20 years since Whole Children started, it grew to include classes and programming for teens and adults in a program called Milestones. The Whole Selves programming focuses heavily on the skills needed to build and sustain relationships – a crucial skill for supporting a connected life.
Classes run for one hour in 8-week sessions and are held in the Inclusive Community Center in Northampton.
For more information or to see the current class roster, visit www.wholechildren.org, or call 413-585-8010. All are welcome!