9th Annual WIUSD Buddy Walk

Vivian Albea, Reporter

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On the Sunday morning of October 8th, the 9th Annual WIUSD Buddy Walk was hosted at North Shore Middle School with the volunteer work of Arrowhead students.

 

This was North Shore Middle School’s ninth time hosting, but the Buddy Walk has been going for a much longer time and in many different places all over the country. In 1955, the National Down Syndrome Society created the Buddy Walk to support Down Syndrome in the month of October and help spread awareness about the syndrome.

 

The North Shore Buddy Walk is supported by an organization named the Wisconsin Upside Down. It was founded in 2008, by three local mothers of children with the syndrome. This organization has shown their support by being the main sponsor of the Buddy Walk in Hartland. With the help of Best Buddies, an Arrowhead club, they provide 80% of the volunteers for that date. This event gets the community, the school, and the students involved to show their support for people with Down Syndrome.

 

The day started off with the Arrowhead student volunteers arriving early at North Shore at approximately 7:45 a.m. to help set up for the day’s activities. After the setup was completed, the head director of the walk, Robyn Lyons, told everyone the schedule for the day. The event began at 10 o’clock that morning and ran until 2 in the afternoon.  

 

To participate in the event, a registration form must be filled out. The fee for anyone ages 2 and up, with or without Down Syndrome, paying before the walk date is 10.00 dollars. The fee for anyone who shows up on the day of the walk wanting to participate needs to pay 15.00 dollars with or without Down Syndrome.

 

Besides the walking portion of the day, which commenced at 12 o’clock and ended at 12:30 pm, this event included other activities for families. Games, face painting, bouncy houses, and 26 raffle baskets were all set up in North Shore’s cafeteria and run by Arrowhead volunteers all day. Raffle tickets were available for purchase at 10 dollars for 10 tickets, or 20 dollars for 25 tickets. A 5 dollar box lunch was also available for a purchase after the trek around the school was completed, only to be followed by an award ceremony and the announcement of the raffle basket winners.

 

Many people had come back to the walk after previous years of attending. But the mother and daughter pair, Rachelle and Emma Whommoe said they had a positive experience for their first time attending the Buddy Walk.

 

Emma Whommoe, who has Down Syndrome, took advantage of the bouncy houses, inflatable obstacle course, and complementary blue and yellow tennis shoe shaped cookies. Emma, who is also still in grade school, received a gold medal and got her picture taken along with the rest of the children who have Down Syndrome that participated in the walk.

 

This year the Buddy Walk had over 600 attendees and 40 volunteers. According to Robyn Lyons, this year had been one of the best years for the walk since 2008. Eighteen sponsors, including Best Buddies, raised and donated $23,173 for the Wisconsin Upside Down.

 

The Buddy Walk this year reached its goals through donations, volunteers, and attendees. Many smiling faces had greeted each other at the beginning and said goodbye at the end with an “I’ll see you next year”. The pair, Rachelle and Emma, had already made plans to revisit this social event. “Yes, we should come back here again!” said Emma to her mom on the way out the door.

 

Arrowhead’s student volunteers had also made a lasting impression on the Buddy Walk and got high recognition with the participants. Rachelle said, “It was really organized well, lots of great volunteers.” The student volunteers showed a positive reflection of Arrowhead through their work, and the club, Best Buddies. It is safe to say the Buddy Walk already has a list of people waiting to attend and a growing list of volunteers waiting to help for next year.  

Ways to get involved for 2018’s Buddy Walk include: signing up as a volunteer at the Buddy Booth at Hawkfest, signing up as a student volunteer through Key Club, emailing [email protected], or calling 262-443-8690 to volunteer and donate.

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1 Comment

One Response to “9th Annual WIUSD Buddy Walk”

  1. Barbara Grogan on November 7th, 2017 7:37 AM

    This article is a fine piece of reporting, and I hope this reporter, Vivian Albea, will be covering more events. Her piece was fact-filled, inspiring, and colorful, and gave me complete details and an accurate picture of this worthy event. How exciting that so much money was raised! Congratulations to everyone!

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9th Annual WIUSD Buddy Walk