Walking the walk: Amherst Best Buddies chapter joins Friendship Walk in Worcester

  • 43442582-353A-4225-B85F-E7770074A0BE
    Members of the Best Buddies club at ARHS during their day trip to Worcester for the Friendship Walk in May.
  • 8FAD319D-71CA-4DF8-A5F2-B0DC811BAFE7
    Members of the Best Buddies club at ARHS during their day trip to Worcester for the Friendship Walk in May.
  • 44E2D6DA-C5F4-4DFC-A5EB-80BAA97C7956
    Members of the Best Buddies club at ARHS during their day trip to Worcester for the Friendship Walk in May.
  • B998799C-A472-4FBA-8645-4B4B3DE1E8DB
    Members of the Best Buddies club at ARHS during their day trip to Worcester for the Friendship Walk in May.

On May 7, the Amherst Best Buddies club participated in the Best Buddies Friendship Walk at Polar Park in Worcester, Mass.

ARHS paraeducator and advisor Marita Banda and paraeducator Cary Pazmany chaperoned the student club, which included Sam Medina, Delia Van Giessen, Karin Suzuki, Sam Watson-Stevens, and the club’s co-presidents Anna Lee and Maria Konieczny.

Best Buddies is an international organization dedicated to providing opportunities for inclusion for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). This walk is an annual event that all are welcome to attend. 

According to Banda, the ARHS Best Buddies club was “joined by many other schools from our region ready to celebrate and support one another.”

“There were prizes to win, live music performances, and a chance to interact with students from multiple schools,” she said. “Along with walking, there were two speakers who shared their experiences.

They talked about the opportunities that Best Buddies has provided them with, which included “employment, friendship, housing and a sense of belonging.”

Amherst ended up ranking sixth for fundraising out of 45 teams, but “we aim to be number 1 next year,” said Banda.

Other club members from this year include Ada Stekl, Beatrice Gould, Chhendara Um, Mackenzie Schreyer, and former co-advisor Mia Mogavero.

For more information on joining Best Buddies, students can contact Marita Banda at bandam1@arps.org