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Community Link Buddy Walk Planned for Oct. 9

BREESE – The 15th Annual Community Link Buddy Walk is just around the corner, returning to Northside Park in Breese, IL on October 9th. This is the first time the event will be in October, which is also Down syndrome awareness month. It is the perfect opportunity to spread knowledge, understanding, and support to our loved ones with Down syndrome and other developmental disabilities.

The Buddy Walk was established by the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) in 1995 to raise awareness and support programs for those with Down syndrome. Community Link is proud to have one of the larger walks in the country to support local programs while contributing 2.5% of proceeds to NDSS for national initiatives.

“We are so grateful to everyone who has registered for the walk, especially our team captains and sponsors,” said Michelle Delfel, director of donor engagement. “Much of the success of the event is due to their excitement and support. We are particularly thankful to the Knights of Columbus-Niemeyer Agency and the Breese Knights of Columbus who made generous donations to be our first presenting sponsors.”

Michelle continues, “This year the theme of the walk is ‘Celebrating Together.’ After all of the challenges and complications we have been facing, we are focusing on the joy of spending the day together. We are going to share stories that teach attendees how Community Link participants, staff, volunteers, and donors enrich each other’s lives every day.”

Many people are familiar with Community Link’s support for adults with developmental disabilities, but may not be aware of the children’s programs. So this year Community Link introduces Margarita, a participant of our Early Head Start program. She is a delightful, happy one-year-old whose family, including her 3 big sisters and brother, has been involved with programs for 8 years. A Family Educator meets with Margarita and her family weekly to assess her development, have playgroups, prepare her for success in school, support good health and nutrition, and more.

For many years, the Buddy Walk occurred in May, with the last in-person event on May 4, 2019 with the theme of “May the fourth be with you.” A soggy day did not dampen spirits with hundreds of friends and family collectively raising over $160,000 for Community Link. In September 2020, the event shifted to virtual and through the generosity of the community, beat expectations by raising over $105,000. This year the goal is $175,000.

At this time, planning continues for the 5K run and 1-mile walk at Northside Park. Community Link is following local and state guidelines and in accordance with those, taking precautions in response to the presence of Covid-19 in our community, and encouraging your family to make the decisions that you feel are best for your health and safety. If you are more comfortable, you are encouraged to celebrate the day with your family by walking in your own neighborhood and sharing your experience on social media.

The best way to register for the event is online at commlink.org/buddywalk. To celebrate the fall season, the new T-shirt is sprinkled with a few autumn leaves on a forest green tee. It will be the same soft and comfortable material as last year. You must register by September 17 to be guaranteed a T-shirt.
Sponsorship opportunities are still available. If you are interested or have questions, contact Michelle Delfel at michelled@commlink.org or 618-526-3938. You may also download a sponsorship form at commlink.org/buddywalk.

Community Link is dedicated to enhancing the lives of individuals with disabilities through a person-centered approach that promotes self-directed living choices and community integration opportunities. The mission of Community Link is to offer opportunities for growth and independence for people with developmental disabilities.

For more information, visit commlink.org.

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