The following post may offend some of you and I apologize for that, however, I wanted to throw it out there so that I can read your positive or negative opinions. I had the opportunity over the weekend to talk with someone who also has a child with Down Syndrome. I respect the man because he doesn’t hold back, he speaks his mind and that’s a quality that I look for in a friend. One of the topics of discussion was the “Buddy Walk.”
I’m sure that many of you are familiar with the “Buddy Walk” so I will go under the assumption that you are. Over the weekend I got to thinking why is it that many of the Buddy Walks are held in out of the way places with very little exposure to the public? Is it the organizers of the Walk or is it the city politicians doing? Why is there very little media exposure for this event, is it the organizers or is it the media? I can tell you that in Pittsburgh our walks are also in out of the way places and there is virtually zero media coverage. I personally have not yet attended a Walk; I have only contributed monetarily to one. That said, I am under the impression that the “Buddy Walk” has many purposes:
(Before I go any further you should know that I am not criticizing anyone. I am merely just trying to get opinions and answers)
1. To bring together parents of children, and adults who have Down Syndrome.
2. To raise money for Down Syndrome research.
3. To promote Down Syndrome awareness.
It certainly is nice to do #1. I can see myself and the kids having a good time. But I’m not sure if #2 and #3 are being done properly. If we were to gain media coverage, this would certainly help with fund raising, it will also help with awareness, they kind of go hand in hand, without one the other won’t be as effective. If you are one who is supportive of the Buddy Walk and want to make number 3 successful, wouldn’t it make sense to hold the Walk in the city, marching down Main Street? There may be cities where this is done, but I haven’t found them yet. After all, the best way to gain attention is to interrupt traffic patterns.
My family and I will probably attend a Buddy Walk one day, but I really don’t feel the need to yet. I suppose that by going to a Walk you’re basically showcasing your child, not entirely, but the feeling is there. As a family, we go to parks, restaurants, movies, the mall, museums, ……….we get out. I think getting out in general is the best way to promote DS, showing people that we do the same things as they do with their typical kids. I understand that it’s a fundraiser, and the point is to bring DS awareness in to the public eye, so my feeling is it needs to be done right or not done at all. Let’s just ask our family and friends to send money to support the National Down Syndrome Society and have one big picnic. Promoting community involvement will allow our our special needs children to blend into our communities. We must be the ones in our daily activities showing the “PUBLIC” that our kids are quite capable of a normal (what is the definition of normal anyway) life just like any other kid.
All we really want is for our children with DS to be happy and be a contributing member of society anyway, right, so why do we need to bring public attention to them. My point is, just go about your business and BLEND IN. If you always draw attention to yourself you will always STAND OUT.
As they say, “the best thing about opinions is that everyone has one”. Isn’t life interesting?