The Buddy Walk® was developed by the National Down Syndrome Society in 1995 to promote acceptance and awareness of people with Down syndrome. The Buddy Walk has grown from 17 walks in 1995 to over 250 in 2010. We encourage our heroes with Down syndrome to invite sidekick buddies - everyone from friends and family to teachers, neighbors, legislators and celebrities—to join them on the Buddy Walk. Every participant helps promote the importance of understanding, acceptance and awareness. Whether you have Down syndrome or know someone who does or just want to show your support, come and be a hero at the Buddy Walk.
How to Register & Fundraise
CLICK HERE to be linked to the website we use to register and organize Buddy Walk teams, Firstgiving. On the main page, click "Join Now" to begin the registration process. Here are some guidelines to help you with registering:
- Register as a TEAM CAPTAIN if you are creating a new team.
- We will communicate with Team Captains directly to let your team know important information leading up to the Walk. This is a vital part of the fundraising process. Firstgiving works with a Peer-to-Peer fundraising model, meaning Team Captains should create their own individual fundraising pages and encourage your Team's Walkers to also make their own individual fundraising pages. These individual pages will all feed your Team's total.
- Register as a WALKER if you are joining an existing team.
- Again, ALL participants should create individual fundraising pages where you can send family and friends to show why Down syndrome awareness is important to you. Your individual fundraising page will feed your team's total.
Watch this informative video on how to use Firstgiving to register for the Buddy Walk.
9:00AM - Pre Party
10:30AM - Welcome and Opening Remarks from Mayor Karl Dean
11:00AM - Walk
11:30AM - After Party
This year we are featuring TWO amazing bands!
Waymore's Outlaws consists of former members of Waylon Jennings recording and touring band, The Waylors, featuring Richie Albright, Waylon's original drummer, bassman Jerry "Jigger" Bridges, and steel guitarist Fred Newell. Add lead guitarist and singer Tommy Townsend to their mix and you have a chance to put Outlaw country music back on the right track keeping the spirit of Waylon and his music alive today. Bassist Jerry Bridge's granddaughter Emma has Down syndrome (see photo)
There are prizes & recognition at the Buddy Walk for the teams who collect the most donations. Prizes will be awarded to the following winners:
The Blues Brokers rocked at last year's Buddy Walk and are coming back for me! The band started in 2006, two stock brokers trying to make the best of a long term bear market..trying to find a groove. They added players to help spread the love of soul and music!
The Brokers play 60's & 70's Soul Music, various one-hit wonders from the era and any other song that they like! We can't wait to have them back.
Most Money Raised:
*Gold 1st Place
Silver 2nd Place (trophy)
Bronze 3rd place (trophy)
*The Gold 1st Place team will have its honoree with Down syndrome crowned SUPER HERO of the 2012 Buddy Walk.
We will also recognize winners in the following categories:
Most Team Spirit
Most Creative Team T-Shirt
Team with Most Registered Walkers (All walkers must be registered with team on Firstgiving site by October 1, 2012)
Youngest Person with Down Syndrome in Attendance
Oldest Person with Down Syndrome in Attendance
Click on any of the links below to download PDFs of important 2012 Buddy Walk Documents.
Buddy Walk Promo Poster
Buddy Walk Team Packet
Buddy Walk Sponsor Packet
Mollie Gavigan Service Award Nomination Form
How did the Buddy Walk begin?
The Buddy Walk was established by the National Down Syndrome Society in 1995 to celebrate Down Syndrome Awareness Month in October. DSAMT held the organization’s first Buddy Walk on April 17, 1997. It has grown from 200 family & friends to last year's Walk having 3,000 participants.
When is this year's Buddy Walk?
The 2012 Buddy Walk will take place Saturday, October 20.
Where is this year's Buddy Walk?
The 2012 Buddy Walk will take place on Parthenon Lawn in Centennial Park (2500 West End Avenue Nashville, Tennessee 37203)
Who can participate in the Buddy Walk?
We encourage our heroes with Down syndrome to invite sidekick buddies - everyone from friends and family to teachers, neighbors, legislators and celebrities—to join them on the Buddy Walk. Every participant helps promote the importance of understanding, acceptance and awareness. Whether you have Down syndrome or know someone who does or just want to show your support, come and be a hero at the Buddy Walk.
What happens at the Buddy Walk?
The Buddy Walk is more than just a one day event - for weeks leading up to the Walk, individuals form teams to honor their friends and families with Down syndrome. These teams sign up on a site called Firstgiving, which allows them to create personal fundraising pages to tell their stories. There are many contests and incentive levels that drive fundraising leading up to the walk.
On Walk day, families arrive and enjoy the festivities, which include a DJ, bands, bounce houses, carnival attractions, video games, arts & crafts, vendors, food trucks, and fellowship with fellow families and friends of individuals with Down syndrome. We will celebrate the top fundraising teams and award our biggest prizes yet, and we will all participate in a walk through Centennial Park.
How can I get involved?
Register and join or form a new team! If you'd like to join an existing team, visit Firstgiving and register as a Walker. If you want to start a new team, register as a Team Captain. Then, make your own fundraising page where you can include your personal story, photos, and videos. Use the Firstgiving email function to send this to your friends, family, co-workers, congregation, etc. Encourage people to visit Firstgiving and join your team - have them make their own fundraising page to tell their story and send to their friends and family as well.
For those interested in sponsoring the Walk, contact Teri Edmonson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 615.386.9002. Exhibitor space is also available - if you are interested in exhibiting, please contact Erin Kice at email@example.com or 615.386.9002. Volunteers may contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
How can my team raise money?
The website we use to organize our Buddy Walk Teams - Firstgiving - works best when you utilize peer-to-peer fundraising. This means that you should encourage everyone on your team to make their own personal fundraising pages that will feed your team total. On these pages, they can tell their own stories and include their own photos. Then they can send this page to their friends and family to drum up donations.
You can also organize special events, like Denim Days for Down Syndrome at your office, yard sales, or a night for your team at a local restaurant. Be creative and pass on information about your team's fundraisers to DSAMT so we can help you advertise them. Feel free to contact our office with any questions or for help with your teams mini-fundraisers at 615.386.9002.
Where do the funds I raise for the Buddy Walk go?
The funds your team raises in the DSAMT Buddy Walk go towards MANY things - research and advocacy on the national level through NDSS as well as the many programs and services that DSAMT provides. These include programs for people with Down syndrome, including Circle of Friends, Cooking Classes, Autumn Prom, Lose The Training Wheels Bike Camp, KinderCamp, Summer Creative Arts Camp, and Next Chapter Book Club; programs for families of people with Down syndrome, including Grandparent’s Group, D.A.D.S. Group, Moms Nights Out, Community Groups, Annual Summer Picnic, Annual Holiday Party, and our Annual Egg Hunt; and educational programs including our Bi-Annual Fired Up! For Down Syndrome Statewide Conference, Educational Workshop Series, Down Syndrome Specialist Teacher Education Program, and Smart Start Educational Series.
Have more questions? Please contact us at email@example.com or 615.386.9002!
If you are interested in becoming a 2012 sponsor, please contact Teri Edmonson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 615.386.9002.