Best Buddies in VA & DC Newsletter: March 2021

We know it can be a lot to scroll for all of our links so check out our LinkTree to find all the links for the events!


Save the Date

2021 Spring Friendship Walk
Saturday, May 1st


It’s not déjà vu – we're so excited that the Virginia & DC office will now be hosting our Best Buddies Friendship Walk in the SPRING as well as expanding and hosting a Walk in southern Virginia. This year, we’re planning to hold the Walk virtually again so people can join in on Facebook from the comfort and safety of their own home! Stay tuned for more information to come on our engaging virtual Month of Movement events that will be taking place all during April.

Do you have questions about how you can participate in the Virtual Walk or need some ideas on how to fundraise? Then please join us on March 24th for our Virtual Friendship Walk Info Session and get all your questions answered.

Virtual Friendship Walk Info & Q&A Session
Wednesday, March 24, 2021

6:00 pm ET


Are you passionate about the mission of Best Buddies and interested in helping us knock our Virtual Friendship Walk out of the park? Then we would love to have you as a part of our Friendship Walk Committee! For more information or to get involved, reach out to Joanna Hatch at

For sponsorship opportunities and other event inquiries, please contact


Best Buddies Expansion & Friendship Programs

Best Buddies is looking to make communities more inclusive through programs all across Virginia and DC. Friendship programs can be run as a school club or through community organizations. We have loved to see how creative volunteers have been during the virtual school year. Two of our newer DC chapters at E.L. Haynes Public Charter School and Washington International School (WIS) have paired up for events over the past few months. Haynes chapter Advisor Aeriale Johnson notes,

“Our partnership with WIS has been amazing! We recently hosted a movie where WIS was able to come through and hang out with us. We had a great time just talking, sharing our input about the movie, and sharing interests and club-related ideas! The kids are super excited about planning the next event!”

We are so happy to see schools connecting and forming a larger Best Buddies network. If you are interested in starting an inclusion chapter in a school or the community, reach out to


Best Buddies Citizens

Our Citizens program continues to grow and flourish!

Our Citizens program is staying strong through March! We have a lot of matches waiting to happen so keep an eye out for your e-mails. Of course, we are also super excited for another upcoming virtual Citizens event with an exciting collaboration! On March 25th at 6 PM, we will be hosting a virtual Citizens event with the International Spy Museum for a night of fun virtual activities and espionage! Grab your buddy and register for a night of mystery!

Jason Will, one of our amazing Citizens participants, is planning a Financial Literacy Workshop for our Citizens and he wants to hear your input! Please fill out this survey so he is able to plan out the workshop according to what YOU want to learn!

If you are interested in joining our Citizens program, please e-mail Veah Velasco at


Best Buddies VA & DC State Ambassadors

Ambassador Training
Sunday, March 21


We are excited to hold a virtual Ambassador training on Sunday, March 21st at 2 PM! During our session, we work on identifying ambassador's strengths, creating goals, and discovering how they can use those strengths to advocate for themselves as well as what they are passionate about. We are looking for ambassadors and speech coaches, so if you are interested, it is not too late to register!


Volunteer Spotlight

Meet Woody!

Best Buddies Volunteers can serve a lot of roles, not the least of which is a friend.

Heywood “Woody” Axelson (pictured at top) volunteered with Best Buddies on our Walk and Prom Committees for the last two years, and this year introduced his company, JBG Smith to Best Buddies and they have graciously committed to a sponsorship of this year’s Friendship Walk! In 2020, with COVID-19 changing his work schedule with less travel he decided to sign up for the Citizens Adult Friendship Program.

He was soon matched with Bobby! While they have never “met in person” – they have bonded pretty quickly as two really, really nice guys!


Jobs Program

A key reason for our success is our Employer partners. These organizations support us in so many ways, we want to share with you what makes them so special! Meet Trade Center Management Associates (TCMA, A Drew Company) who is the exclusive manager of the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center (RRB/ITC) in Washington, DC.

#TeamTCMA excels in delivering unparalleled service and expertise in Real-Estate Management, Hospitality Services, and International Trade Promotion. And of course, everyone at Best Buddies knows they have hosted our PROM for many years!

TCMA has embraced the partnership with Best Buddies, from coordinating cooking classes and participating in the Friendship Walk to establishing one-to-one friendships and being a PROM sponsor. When Best Buddies VADC launched our Jobs Program TCMA naturally wanted to further its support and create a more inclusive workplace. Two years ago, Best Buddies Jobs participant, Arjun, joined the Sales & Event Planning Team – assisting the team in selling, planning, and implementing meetings, conferences, social galas, and weddings at the RRB/ITC.

Arjun is described by Team TCMA as “a hard worker with an upbeat and positive attitude—his energy is contagious and brings so much joy to our office.” Arjun is responsible for managing some administrative tasks, but he has really wowed the staff with his determination and attention-to-detail when given special research projects. He’s a valued team member and is dearly missed during this time of working remotely.

What does TCMA say to other employers interested in working with Best Buddies?

“Do it! The resources that Best Buddies provides to support the onboarding process are excellent. They provided our team with some initial trainings focused on the best ways of working with individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD). Then, a Best Buddies Job coach was present throughout the hiring and orientation processes to assist with training our incoming employee and helping our organization to create a supportive environment, as well as checking in regularly to ensure the ongoing success of the program.”

Special thanks to TCMA’s President and CEO John P. Drew, Cyndi Radke, Executive Vice President of Sales & Event Planning, and all the executives at TCMA for their commitment to Best Buddies.


Best Buddies Living

Best Buddies Living is looking forward to enjoying Washington DC in the springtime. This month, we were able to hike Theodore Roosevelt Island, visit the National Sculpture Gallery, and visit the Georgetown Waterfront. In April, we plan to take in the famous cherry blossoms!

Are you interested in learning more about Best Buddies Living? Join us for a virtual tour TONIGHT, Thursday, March 18th at 7:00 PM. To join, register here and feel free to reach out to for more information.


Stay Connected

Don’t forget to follow us on our social media platforms to stay updated on our upcoming events and announcements!





Best Buddies International is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment, leadership development, and inclusive living for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).

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Best Buddies in Virginia & D.C.
6231 Leesburg Pike, Suite 310
Falls Church, VA 22044
(703) 533-9420