Down Syndrome Association of South Georgia to host 4th annual Buddy Walk

The Buddy Walk is a national event that advocates and brings awareness for those with Down Syndrome and how the community can help support its initiatives.
Published: Sep. 15, 2023 at 5:42 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 16, 2023 at 12:24 PM EDT
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VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) - On Saturday, Unity Park will be filled with children and families as the Down Syndrome Association of South Georgia hosts its fourth annual advocacy Buddy Walk.

The Down Syndrome Association of South Georgia began with a mission to benefit the lives of individuals with Down Syndrome and their families through support, education, public awareness and advocacy.

“It’s very challenging but having the people here to support you is very relaxing,” Stacy Williams, a parent, said.

“Being able to provide parents with resources that weren’t available to me at the time, I think is huge. It’s something that was needed, has been needed and will always be needed,” Ann Bishop, a parent, said.

Stacy and Ann are just two of the parents in South Georgia who volunteer with the association to give their support to other parents of children with Down Syndrome.

Ann and her husband’s youngest child, Maggie, was born with Down Syndrome, and later they adopted another son, Nate, when he was two years old, who also has Down Syndrome.

“My parents adopted me in Ukraine and take me home to Valdosta because we are brother and sister who have Down syndrome. I am so happy and blessed. In my heart,” Nate Bishop, Down Syndrome Association of South Georgia self-advocate, said.

The association hosts the Buddy Walk, which is a national event, to advocate and bring awareness for those with Down Syndrome and how the community can help support its initiatives.

“We like to hang out with friends with disabilities, like Autism or Down Syndrome, to be self-advocates it makes them more comfortable,” Maggie Bishop, Down Syndrome Association of South Georgia self-advocate, said.

“Things that everybody could really benefit from but would also benefit or kids in more adapted classes for them,” Dora Harding, Down Syndrome Association of South Georgia president and a parent, said.

“That’s what our goal is that they would be contributing members of society, and that people would see them and say yeah they have value and now you see it too,” she said.

The Down Syndrome Association of South Georgia has raised $23,500 out of its $50,000 goal to support new medical outreach and elementary school enrichment programs. As well as its new teen and adult enrichment program.

If you would like to support the Down Syndrome Association of South Georgia, visit https://dsasouthga.org/