Getting Some Exercise @the Best Buddies Friendship Walk!


On Saturday May 11th, the international nonprofit 501 organization, known as Best Buddies, held their annual Friendship Walk at the Lake County Fairgrounds. The Friendship Walk began at 10:15 am starting with the opening ceremonies and the walk started at 10:30 am. After the walk, a celebration was held until about 1:00pm allowing everyone who participated to talk, get to know each other, and just have a good time with friends and family.  For those who may not be familiar with Best Buddies, it consists of volunteers that create opportunities for people with IDD (Intellectual and Developmental Disorders). It is an outstanding program that highlights the fostering of natural friendships between high school students with and without IDD.

            The Friendship Walk is the leading walk in the country to support the Best Buddies program and was started in 2009. Since then, more than 150,000 participants in 60 cities have walked to raise awareness for friendship, leadership development, and inclusion. This program also helps to form meaningful friendships with peers, help with success in future jobs, live independently, improve communication skills, and just help make everyone feel valued by society. The funds raised leading up to, as well as at the Friendship Walks help to fund other local Best Buddies programs. Every dollar raised goes towards making the world a more inclusive and accepting place.

            Griffith Jr/Sr High School has its very own Best Buddies club that is welcome to everyone and anyone. Teacher, coach, and mentor, Melissa Diekelmann has been in charge of running the Best Buddies program at the G for 7 years now. She is also the coach for all unified sports held at GHS including flag football, bocce ball, bowling, and track. If you’re looking for clubs to join, school events to participate in, or even a way to get involved in an organization like this, definitely look into joining Best Buddies and the unified sports. You won’t be disappointed; it is so much fun and an amazing experience!