Photo / Instagram @whs_bestbuddies
On Saturday Nov. 7, Walpole High’s Best Buddies participated in the annual Friendship Walk. The Friendship Walk is a nationwide fundraiser that supports 200 million buddies with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), according to the official Best Buddies Friendship Walk Website.
The goal of the walk is to celebrate friendship and inclusivity while helping people with IDD develop meaningful relationships that prepare them for an independent and fulfilled life. Walpole Best Buddies raised an impressive 2645 dollars to support the cause.
“I walk to make sure that people of all abilities feel included and appreciated in our school community,” WHS Best Buddies club president Brendan Mahoney said, in an Instagram post live from the walk.
Normally, Walpole Best Buddies would attend the walk at McCoy Stadium in Providence, RI, but the pandemic called for alterations. As a result, Mahoney, vice president Danny Fredette and advisors Kerry Donlan and Kellie Robinson decided to uphold the tradition and raise awareness on the WHS track. Participants walked their four laps around the track socially distanced, wearing masks and in three separate waves throughout the morning.
“With all that is going on this year, everyone has felt socially isolated at one point or another, so this year, making sure that everyone feels included is even more important,” Mahoney said.
Among the walkers was the duo of the Ledwith sisters who were particularly excited to embrace the spirit of friendship—as well as sisterhood.
“I’m walking because I get to spend great quality time with my sister and I get to form friendships with all of these wonderful people,” junior Erin Ledwith said.
As the smiling faces of the club’s Instagram depicted, the walk had a great turnout. Despite COVID-19 restrictions, Best Buddies members brought their positive attitudes and goal of inclusivity to the track.
“I think the highlight of the walk was how many people turned out to walk, even though it was really different this year,” Mahoney said. “It really showed how powerful inclusion is.”