March 17, 2020 – A Message from Best Buddies International’s Leadership Team
Dear Best Buddies Family,
Over the past few weeks, there have been significant developments in the global, national, and local responses to the ongoing spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
Here at Best Buddies, everything we do is in an effort to bring people together and create a more inclusive world through the power of one-to-one friendships, integrated employment, leadership development, and inclusive living opportunities. And that will never change. During times such as these, our friends with disabilities may feel more isolated than ever. That is why we must remain focused on the needs of our community and reaffirm the importance of creating a more accepting world for people of all abilities. Together, we will continue this work.
These are indeed challenging times that are forcing us to consider new ways to connect with our participants and continue hosting Best Buddies events that showcase the heart and soul of our mission — inclusion for all.
The following is an update on Best Buddies events and initiatives given the current COVID-19 situation:
- Best Buddies Friendship Walks: To facilitate social distancing and prioritize the health and safety of our community, the Best Buddies Senior Leadership team has made the decision to convert all spring and summer 2020 Friendship Walks to Virtual Friendship Walks. We are excited to start developing this unique opportunity to join the Best Buddies team online. For more information about the Best Buddies Virtual Friendship Walks, please watch for updates on our Website, Facebook and Instagram pages. We’ll see you online soon!
- 2020 Best Buddies Challenges: We understand our role in ensuring a safe environment for all participants, volunteers, spectators, and supporters. After meeting with, and following the recommendations of the Best Buddies Challenge: Hyannis Port Executive Committee, the guidance of the CDC, local government officials and public health authorities, we are postponing the Best Buddies Challenge: Hyannis Port to the weekend of September 25-26, 2020. In addition, the spring Best Buddies Camp: Malibu will be rescheduled for the winter of 2020. Registered participants and volunteers will receive additional information in the coming weeks. The Best Buddies Challenge: Hearst Castle scheduled for September 12, 2020, and the Best Buddies Challenge: Miami scheduled for November 20, 2020, will proceed as planned, subject to CDC, national and state guidelines. Further details on all Best Buddies Challenges will be forthcoming.
- Commit to our mission of inclusion in more creative ways! Despite the cancellations and postponements of in-person Best Buddies chapter and social events, there are so many ways we can still connect, be friends and promote inclusion. Do you have an e-Buddy? If not, now is a great time to join the program and share your love of making new friends from the comfort of your own home! Use all available opportunities to connect virtually with online resources such as Google Hangouts, ZOOM, or Skype – to have virtual chapter activities. Pick up the phone and call your buddy! Use your downtime to reconnect and talk about the fun things you plan to do when things settle. You can also start a text thread with your chapter or participate in Best Buddies’ TikTok While You Walk Challenge! Find new ways to virtually connect and enjoy your friend’s company!
Please know that we are closely monitoring this rapidly-evolving situation and will work diligently to ensure that we have the right plans and resources in place, in adherence to the expert guidance and recommendations provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and local public health authorities.
Despite the unprecedented circumstances, we remain optimistic that our community will navigate these uncertain times with a spirit of empathy and understanding.
For information specific to the coronavirus and the most up-to-date information on the situation, please visit CDC.gov.
Wishing you all the best of health.
The Best Buddies International Leadership Team