Best Buddies Friendship Walk in South Florida Raises a Record-Breaking $550,000 for Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
Presented by WSVN Channel 7, Celebrity Cruises and Gilda
Miami, March, 19, 2018 — On Saturday March 17th, Best Buddies International, a groundbreaking nonprofit founded in 1989 by Anthony K. Shriver to establish a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), hosted its 8th annual Best Buddies Friendship Walk: South Florida at Museum Park in Downtown Miami. More than 2,600 people attended the Friendship Walk and the event raised over $550,000 in total donations, a record for the organization!
The day kicked off with energetic music as the event MC, WSVN news anchor and Best Buddies supporter Craig Stevens, welcomed everyone to the Friendship Walk. Best Buddies participant Alexis Greenberg, who has been involved with the organization for over 10 years, performed a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem. The event was the perfect gathering for fun, fitness, and friendship, and featured several family-friendly activities including a petting zoo, face-painting, a photo booth, zip-lines, a beer garden, and bounce houses.
David Quilleon, Senior Vice President of Global Mission, State Development and Operations at Best Buddies, introduced Alexis Nilsson and Alexa Seldin, Best Buddies Chapter President and Vice President at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The two high school students led a moment of silence for the victims of the recent Parkland tragedy. The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Team led the countdown for the Walk.
This year’s notable guests included Alexa Aronson, a two-time Billboard Top 30 charting artist, and hip-hop star Fat Joe. Walk participants enjoyed performances by Alexa Aronson and Fat Joe, who performed his hit song “All The Way Up.”
Following the Walk, David Quilleon recognized the top fundraising teams:
Top Corporate Teams:
1) Team Jacob- IPC – $53,7272
2) City of Hialeah – $31,586
3) Starwood Property Trust – $28,010
Top School Teams:
1) Team Lucas and Miami Country Day – $15,675
2) Cypress Bay High School – $9,050
3) Cooper City High School – $6,610
Top Community Teams:
1) Gaston- $23,550
2) Mark Wylie & Best Buddies Citizens – $10,579
3) Raffy Taffy Boom Boom Pow – $10,495
Buddy pairs, teams, and supporters traversed the 5K course alongside the scenic Biscayne Boulevard. The Walk began and concluded at Museum Park where participants were treated to lunch, generously provided by Subway. Afterwards the participants were invited to dance and celebrate their achievements by visiting the activity booths.
This year’s Best Buddies Friendship Walk: South Florida included a one- mile competitive run for the first time. In total, 60 people participated in the inaugural race.
Since 2009, more than 200,000 participants have walked in over 30 states and raised more than $16 million for Best Buddies. Proceeds from the Friendship Walk are fundamental in supporting state programs that provide one-to-one friendships, integrated employment, and leadership development. These programs can be found in all 50 states and will create promising opportunities for more than 350,000 people this year.
The 2018 Best Buddies Friendship Walk: South Florida was a record-breaking success!
This year’s Best Buddies Friendship Walk in South Florida sponsors and corporate partners included: Mastercard, Turnberry & Associates, Value Store It, Royal Media Partners, Holland & Knight, City of North Bay Village, Inktel, Independent Purchasing Cooperative, Starwood Property Trust, City of Hialeah, Gray|Robinson, Carlton Fields, Boies Schiller & Flexner, Celebrity Cruises, South Florida Institute of Sports Medicine, Gilda, WSVN Channel 7, Nordstrom, Tusk Ventures, Mercedes-Benz of Coral Gables, Valuation Services Inc.,Ten-X Commercial Real Estate, Duane Morris, Pirtle Construction, FedEx, and TUUCI.
ABOUT BEST BUDDIES INTERNATIONAL:
Best Buddies® is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Founded in 1989 by Anthony K. Shriver, Best Buddies is a vibrant organization that has grown from one original chapter to more than 2,300 middle school, high school, and college chapters worldwide. Today, Best Buddies’ eight formal programs — Middle Schools, High Schools, Colleges, Citizens, e-Buddies® , Jobs, Ambassadors, and Promoters — engage participants in each of the 50 states and in nearly 50 countries, positively impacting the lives of more than 1.1 million people with and without disabilities around the world. In many cases, as a result of their involvement with Best Buddies, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities secure rewarding jobs, live on their own, become inspirational leaders, and make lifelong friendships. For more information, please visit www.bestbuddies.org, facebook.com/bestbuddies or twitter.com/bestbuddies.
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