5th Annual Best Buddies Friendship Walk in Utah
5th Annual Best Buddies Friendship Walk in Utah
Raises Over $14,000 for Individuals with
Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
Presented by Sephora, Smart Resources, Mountain America Credit Union,
and Utah Community Credit Union
Salt Lake City, May 25, 2023— On Saturday, May 20th, 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 5th Annual Best Buddies Friendship Walk in Utah at Lodestone Park in Salt Lake County. More than 150 people attended the Friendship Walk and the event raised over $14,000 in total donations!
The day kicked off with an opening ceremony and was followed by a warm-up led by staff member Arlet Coe and Best Buddies ambassador Daniel Austin. After this warm-up, all attendees walked around the park following the Friendship Walk course. The rest of the day was spent enjoying a Friendship Festival! This festival included music, food, and numerous activities such as corn hole, ring toss, face painting, temporary tattoos, chalk drawing, blowing bubbles, a flower crown station and a friendship bracelets station. There was also a Mission Tent with Best Buddies programs information. The event was the perfect gathering for fun, wellness, inclusion, and friendship.
This year’s notable guests included DJ Richie Steadman, “Best DJ in Utah”, who entertained guests all day long with songs and group dances! Numerous Utah Beauty Pageant title holders were in attendance – Madison Jonely, Miss Utah USA 2022, Maizy Abbott, Miss Utah Teen USA 2022, Jenny Flores Wilson, Ms. Utah Plus America 2023, Kassandra Lee, Ms. Utah, Lora Forbush, Mrs. USA Continental Worldwide, Erica Dunyon, Mrs. Super Utah, Megan Hennesy, Mrs. Utah Elite 2022, and Shiane Works, United International Elite. Miss Utah Toddler 2022 was also in attendance. Legacy Initiative members were there wearing various cosplay costumes of their choice. The Ridgeview Softball Team players and coaches also attended wearing their team uniforms.
Following the Friendship Walk, Best Buddies staff member, Monica Moya, and Best Buddies ambassador, McKenzie Merritt-Smith, recognized the top fundraising teams:
Top Corporate Team: Team Sephora Stands
Top School Teams: University of Utah
Top Sponsor Team: Smart Resources
2023 Walker of the Year: Natalie Green
Buddy pairs, teams and supporters navigated the Friendship Walk course alongside the scenic Lodestone Park. The Walk began and concluded at Lodestone Park Pavilion where participants were treated to lunch, generously provided by Chick-Fil-A and Starbucks. Afterwards, the participants were invited to dance and celebrate their achievements by visiting the activity booths.
Since 2009 more than 200,000 participants have walked in over 30 states and raised more than $21 million for Best Buddies. Proceeds from the Friendship Walk are fundamental in supporting state programs that provide one-to-one friendships, integrated employment, leadership development and inclusive living. Best Buddies can be found in all 50 states and will continue creating opportunities for more than 350,000 people this year.
The 2023 Best Buddies Friendship Walk: Utah was a huge success!
This year’s Best Buddies Friendship Walk in Utah sponsors and corporate partners include: Sephora, Smart Resources, Mountain America Credit Union, and Utah Community Credit Union.
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, leadership development and inclusive living 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 nearly 3,000 elementary school, middle school, high school, and college Friendship and Promoter chapters worldwide. Today, Best Buddies’ nine formal programs — Middle Schools, High Schools, Colleges, Citizens, e-Buddies®, Jobs, Ambassadors, Promoters and Inclusive Living— engage participants in each of the 50 states and in 56 countries and territories, positively impacting the lives of over 1.3 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 independently, become inspirational leaders and build lifelong friendships. For more information, please visit www.bestbuddies.org or connect with us via Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
For more information about the Best Buddies Friendship Walk: Utah and/or media inquiries, please contact: