Boardwalk Buddy Walk Celebrates!
By Colleen Brunetti on behalf of Signing Time
A Buddy Walk is an amazing thing. Established in 1995 by the National Down syndrome Society in 1995, with a goal of promoting acceptance and inclusion of people with Down syndrome, these walks have sprung up all over the country during the month of October and truly bring something special to the community.
Particularly special about these walks is that they are often spearheaded by the friends and loved ones of those who have Down syndrome, and such is the case for the Boardwalk Buddy Walk. The walk was started in 2006 by Dennis and Sharonlee.
Diehl as a way to support Sharonlee’s brother, David, who is a 63-year-old self-
advocate. Joining them is volunteer Executive Director, Michelle Archer, who works
tirelessly on behalf of her four-year-old nephew, Luke, and the entire community the
event serves. The Boardwalk Buddy Walk now looks to its 10-year anniversary with
a mix of well-earned pride and anticipation.
The 10th anniversary is first a chance to look back and celebrate. Over the course of
the event it has first and foremost raised the ever-important awareness needed for
those with Down syndrome and other cognitive disorders – a community that is
aware is a community that learns to care. In fact, the awareness has been so great
that the Boardwalk Buddy Walk has been the recipient of two Governor’s Tourism
Awards! The fiscal results of these efforts are impressive too, with over $500,000 for
the cause raised to date.
In addition, the fruits of their efforts can be seen in the lives of those the walk
honors, including a kitchen training program designed to train students, resulting in
gainful employment for many, and even full time for one participant! Finally, the
organization gives back to the process, helping Best Buddies bring a similar
program to Sussex County, DE.
With so much accomplished, and so much to look forward to, it is only fitting that
this 10th-year anniversary walk be something extra special. Enter Rachel Coleman, of
Two Little Hand Productions. You might know her as the Signing Time lady… or
friend of Hopkins. The Signing Time and Baby Signing Time videos, designed to
teach American Sign Language (ASL) to children of all abilities, are loved by many,
Rachel has a long history of joining Buddy Walks as both a walker and the main
entertainer. When the Boardwalk Buddy Walk was looking for something extra-
special for the coming event, they knew Rachel was the one to call on. Her live
performance and compelling personal story is sure to bring something spectacular
to the day’s festivities, and will help create an event to remember.
Be sure to mark your calendar for October 10, 2015, sign up, form a team, and join
the Boardwalk Buddy Walk. We can’t wait to see you!