Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Central Arkansas Buddy Walk

Yesterday was the first Buddy Walk in Central Arkansas!  Back in March you might remember me going to Washington D.C. for the National Down Syndrome Society's National Buddy Walk.  It was so much fun and I learned a lot about the National Down Syndrome Society as well as different ways that they advocate for themselves.  One of those ways is participating in Buddy Walks!  

When I got back to Little Rock... I realized that Central Arkansas did not have a Buddy Walk and what a better way to hang out and give back to my community and love on these precious children.  So about 4 months ago I started planning, with my aunt and mom, the first ever central arkansas Buddy Walk!  
Needless to say - it was last weekend at the Big Dam Bridge in Little Rock.  It was so much fun!
We had over 300 walkers and made over 3,000 dollars for the NDSS, Community Connections, Miracle League, and Special Olympics.  The kids walked across the bridge and then volunteers made hot dogs and the children played with bubbles, in a bouncy hat, and danced with the NLR Cheerleaders.  It was amazing how the community really showed up.  

Our major Sponsors were Crews and Associates, Turner and Associates, Lamar Advertising, Creations - Jodi Collins,   ACH - Genetics Dept, Jelly Bean Jump, and Community Connections.  
It was so great to see how much fun these children had and to see the families interact and support one another.  Two families that connected were newlyweds in their late 20's with their first child having DS.  They were both 9 month old babies!  The best part about this was that these families started a connection and will most likely continue to hang out support each other.  What a wonderful networking tool the Buddy Walk was.  This little girl playing the guitar is Emma Grace.  She was so adorable and if you follow me on SocialCam I put up a couple of videos of her singing Karaoke.  Man this girl could sing Adele!  She loved singing and entertaining.  The next picture is of the walk.  The NLR cheerleaders cheered people on as the completed the one mile walk across the bridge and back!  It was neat to see everyone come out and support.  

I cannot say thank you enough to the "GOSSER MAFIA" (as they are commonly known).  It is so neat to have a family that really steps up and supports each other in our endeavors and passions.  Dr. Bob and Marianne Gosser (Papa and GranMary) even came out and sat with some of the families and talked with them.  It is so wonderful to have grandparents that are so active in our lives and are always around!  My cousin McKenzie (the cheerleader on the right) came out and did a wonderful job managing the Karaoke station!  She has some great music and is always the first to lend a helping hand.  Aunt April (purple shirt) and her twins (girls in front of McKenzie) came out and walked the bridge.  Even though they are not effected by DS - they supported the cause and supported Laura Leigh and I.  And of course I could not have done this walk without my Aunt Leigh Anna (middle next to Grandmary) and her husband Jonathon and son JJ (left) They helped out tremendously and Aunt Leigh Anna was literally the Hands and Feet of the operation here in Little Rock.  My sister Molly Anne was wonderful in taking so many pictures (over 200) of the event and my mom and sister Laura Leigh were so encouraging and loved playing with the kids the whole time.  Again, i can't thank my family enough especially my mom who always believes in me and my crazy sometimes outrageous ideas - but this one stuck and was a good one :)

I hope you come out and join us next year for the Buddy Walk Bridging Central Arkansas!  It was so much fun and a great way to give back to your community while volunteering and supporting the people that have down syndrome in Central Arkansas!  

Have a great day!

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