The Buddy Walk is the premier advocacy event for Down syndrome in the United States. It promotes acceptance and inclusion for those with Down syndrome and highlights the beautiful ways in which those with Down syndrome enhance our families and communities.
It is also the primary fundraiser for DSAMT and allows us to accomplish our mission of enhancing the lives of those with Down syndrome throughout the lifespan. The funds raised at the Nashville Buddy Walk support all of the education, advocacy and support programs offered by DSAMT including:
*First Call Program for families with a new diagnosis
*Support Groups (Moms, Dads, Grandparents, Siblings)
*Self-Advocate Programs (Circle of Friends, Next Chapter Book Club)
*Summer Camps (creative arts, bike camp, friendship camp)
*Educational Workshops for caregivers
*Community Outreach Training & information to schools, physicians
*Family Connection Activities (egg hunt, summer picnic, holiday party)
* and much more!
A small percentage of the funds raised at the Nashville Buddy Walk support the NDSS National Policy Center advocacy for federal, state, and local policies that positively impact those with Down syndrome.
DSAMT encourages you to invite friends, family, classmates, teachers, neighbors, legislators and other celebrities—to join them on the Buddy Walk. We invite anyone from the community to come out and enjoy the celebration with us and encourage them to start their own team in honor of all individuals with Down syndrome!
On Buddy Walk day, teams enjoy the beautiful walk around Centennial Park and a bunch of fun festivities and activities, which include live entertainment from the Blues Brokers, inflatables, games, crafts, shopping, visiting exhibitor booths, food trucks, give-a-ways and fun times with families, friends and individuals with Down syndrome. We will recognize several community members who have done "something extra" and made a real difference in the lives of those with Down syndrome.
We will also recognize the top fundraising teams and award some fabulous prizes.
Last year was a record-breaking event, despite the cold, rainy weather. We are not only expecting to break records again but also are hoping for a warm, bright sunshiny day!
Participation in our Buddy Walk is free, but advanced registration by October 1st is required in order to be guaranteed a free 2014 Buddy Walk t-shirt. Starting October 1, registrations are still free, but shirts will be on sale for $6 each. All shirts will be available for pick up at the walk.
DSAMT relies on your support for the Buddy Walk, which is our primary fundraiser for the entire year. This year, we will introduce new incentives for fundraising, which will be announced very soon, and a fundraising support program. DSAMT will also count sponsorship dollars that you bring in to your team total as well (rules will be posted soon). In addition, because letter writing campaigns are so effective, DSAMT will pay the postage (and our volunteers will do the stuffing and labeling) for your letter writing campaign! Click here to register.
Yes! It is very important that everyone who attends the walk registers so we can plan accordingly (and better plan for the next year).
Everyone who preregisters by midnight on September 30th will also get a free T-shirt. T-shirts will be for sale for anyone who doesn't preregister.
CLICK HERE to register. On the main page, click "Register" to begin the process. You'll be asked to select the number of people you are registering for each level (Celebrity, Walker, Groupie). Then you'll be asked to login or create a new Firstgiving account. At the end of each step look for the green "Next" button. Firstgiving will then walk you through each registration step to create or join a team, create your fundraising page and make a donation.
Should you have any questions, please ask. The site is much improved over previous years, but it can still be confusing, especially to those new to Firstgiving. We are here to help. Call us at 615-386-9002 or email at email@example.com.
9:00AM - TEAM CHECK-IN, ON-SITE REGISTRATION, PRE-WALK ACTIVITIES All walkers who pre-register by midnight on September 30th will get a free Buddy Walk T-shirt. When you arrive at the park, you can visit the T-shirt pick up table, then enjoy the festivities. Each individual with Down syndrome will receive a goodie bag and a chance at our door prizes, provided by our exhibitors & sponsors.
9:30AM - OPENING CEREMONIES Our guest emcee will kick off the day with opening remarks and then we'll turn the stage over to the fabulous BLUES BROKERS to help get everyone in a festive mood for celebrating!
10:00AM - WE WALK! WE CELEBRATE! Rain, snow or shine (though we're certainly hoping for shine) the Blues Brokers will strike up an awesome beat, and we'll take the short, beautiful walk around the park area (leisurely, less than half a mile). Each individual with that "something extra" will receive a Buddy Walk medal - this year to be handed out by Mt. Juliet Police Officers at the end of the walk route. Then each team will be asked to gather for a quick team photo, which will be available online a few days after the walk.
11:00PM - AFTER WALK CELEBRATION & AWARDS CEREMONY After the walk, spend time meeting other DSAMT families, visit exhibitor booths, play games, eat lunch (food trucks will be available or you can bring your own), play in the inflatables, take silly photos, make sunshine crafts and so much more!
You can raise money anyway you can! This year we are using a new website to organize our Buddy Walk Teams and raise funds to support our programs. It is called DonorDrive and it works best when you set a specific fundraising goal and recruit friends, family, coworkers, etc. to join your team and also raise money on your team's behalf. You will want to encourage everyone on your team to make their own personal fundraising pages, as that can dramatically help increase your team total. On these pages, they can tell their own stories and include their own photos, and any money raised goes toward the team total. You can create your own competition with team members, too, for added fun. Send the team page link to everyone you know and explain why this is important to you. Posting links and updates on Facebook/Twitter will also increase your fundraising significantly - plus it helps spread awareness.
Even in today's digital world, a personal letter that explains why this cause is important and asks for a donation is really the most effective way to fundraise. It is so useful that if your team writes a personalized letter and includes a photo to help tell your story, DSAMT volunteers will print and stuff those letters and DSAMT will pay the postage of up to 100 letters!
There are many prizes and recognition opportunities at the Buddy Walk for teams who support DSAMT by fundraising. In addition to incredible incentives, prizes will be awarded to the following fundraising teams:
*First Place Community Team (not walking in honor of any one individual with Down syndrome)
*Most Team Spirit
*Most Improved Fundraising Team (vs. 2013)
Click on any of the links below to download PDFs of important 2013 Buddy Walk Documents.
Buddy Walk Sponsor Packet
Mollie Gavigan Service Award Nomination Form
Buddy Walk Flyer!
How to get Sponsors for your Team
Employer Sponsorship Ask Template Letter
Sponsorship Ask Template Letter
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Buddy Walk?
The Buddy Walk is more than just a one day event, and it is much more than just fundraising for DSAMT. The Buddy Walk is the premier advocacy event for Down syndrome in the United States. It not only raises money for important DSAMT and NDSS programs that support those with Down syndrome and their families, but it promotes acceptance and inclusion for those with Down syndrome and highlights the beautiful ways in which those with Down syndrome enhance our families and communities.
For weeks leading up to the Walk, individuals form teams to honor their friends and family members with Down syndrome. Some teams honor a specific individual, while others support the community as a whole. They create personal fundraising pages with photographs and tell their stories about why participating in the Buddy Walk is important to them, and they set individual and team goals. There are many contests and incentive levels that drive fundraising leading up to the walk.
Where is the Buddy Walk exactly?
The 2014 Buddy Walk will take place on Parthenon Lawn in Centennial Park (2500 West End Avenue Nashville, Tennessee 37203)
Who can participate in the Buddy Walk?
Anyone and Everyone! We encourage everyone with "something extra" to invite everyone from friends and family to classmates and teachers, neighbors, legislators and other celebrities to join them at the Buddy Walk. Every participant helps promote the importance of understanding, acceptance and awareness.
How can I get involved?
Register and join a team or start your own team! First register, then, make your own fundraising page where you can include your personal story, photos, and videos and share via email or social media. Encourage people to join your team and ask them to make their own fundraising pages to tell their story and send to their friends and family as well.
I think my company might like to get involved. How do we do that?
There are fabulous sponsorship opportunities available. Please contact Alecia Talbott at firstname.lastname@example.org of 615-3856-9002 or anyone on the DSAMT Board of Directors for more information.
I didn't preregister. Can I still get a walk T-shirt?
Yes. Shirts will be for sale at the walk, while supplies last.
Are there opportunities to volunteers?
Absolutely! We need help with everything from planning to day-of logistics to volunteers just to cheer on our teams. Contact Lisa Haskell at email@example.com for more information.
Every participant helps promote the importance of understanding, acceptance and awareness. Whether you have Down syndrome or know someone who does or just want to show your support, join us at the Buddy Walk - Nashville - 2014.
CLICK HERE TO REGISTER AND START FUNDRAISING!