The Buddy Walk is a lot like the buddy system, only with better Fitbit incentives — and you shouldn’t have to look too far in order to get your steps.
More than 250 different Buddy Walks will be held in locations across the country this year.
Centre Region Down Syndrome Society’s stroll will take place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Oct. 14 at Mount Nittany Middle School. People can register or make donations by visiting centrecountydownsyndrome.org.
“For me, as a mom, I like to go so I can see older kids with Down syndrome and see where this is going,” said Heather House, the walk’s co-coordinator.
For me, as a mom, I like to go so I can see older kids with Down syndrome and see where this is going.
House attended her first walk almost four years ago, which not coincidentally was about the same time that she had her daughter Fern.
The relationship that House developed with the event has grown in lockstep with her child. First it was a place where she could network with other parents for insights and advice.
Now it’s a conduit for paying that same kindness forward to new faces — and give Fern an opportunity to forge ties of her own.
I think our goal is really just to show people in the community that our kids are just like any other kid.
“It becomes less about me needing the support and more about Fern having peers,” House said.
If it’s the flashier attractions you’re looking for, the walk will also play host to an assortment of Penn State athletes and some adaptive three-wheel bikes designed for people with special needs.
Katie Feliz became acquainted with the Buddy Walk last year. Her daughter, Emberly, was just 6 months old.
“We’re developing friendships now that I hope will last through school age and into adulthood,” Feliz said.
She’s on the planning committee for this year’s walk, but what remains most important to her is that Emberly is seen first and foremost as Emberly.
“I think our goal is really just to show people in the community that our kids are just like any other kid,” Feliz said.