Down syndrome Outreach Buddy Walk

buddy-walk-2016-tjs-edited-photos-111The Buddy Walk® is a fun and rewarding opportunity to promote acceptance and inclusion of people with Down syndrome and celebrate Down Syndrome Awareness Month. Whether you have Down syndrome, know someone who does, or just want to show your support, your participation and generosity is greatly appreciated!

The Buddy Walk® was established in 1995 by the National Down Syndrome Society to celebrate Down syndrome and to promote acceptance and inclusion of people with Down syndrome.  Anyone can be a buddy!

DsO Thanks Your for Your Help!

Because of Your Support We Will Have Another Buddy Walk!!!

Save the Date: October 7th

Depot Market Square

Pre-Registration Opens July 23

Buddy Walk logo

The Buddy Walk 2018 will mark the 15th year of Buddy Walk® in Whatcom County! The event is a highlight for the Down syndrome Outreach community, bringing together members, friends and family to walk and celebrate with each other. The annual Buddy Walk® in Whatcom county has grown over the years from a grass-roots event with a handful of families to a ‘full-on’ celebration with live music, food, activities, games and the 1-mile walk through Bellingham’s downtown streets. Last year, over 450 community members participated! DsO reaches over 90 individuals & families in our community with direct support and services, accessing support meetings, receiving information and education through our lending library, and connecting and networking with other parents. We receive limited funding for these direct services and rely on donations and sponsorships through the year to hold the Buddy Walk and other events. DsO is an exceptional program of support, inclusion and acceptance that is truly unique. This year we are asking the community and local businesses to join with us in supporting the Buddy Walk. In 2017, the total cost to host Buddy Walk was over $15,000.

Moving forward, this event will change as needed in order to be sustainable and a consistent event for our community.

Our 2018 Fundraising Campaign to have the 15th Annual Buddy Walk was successful!

Because of community support from individuals, friends, family members and local businesses we were able to raise $10,202 by May 31st!

Stay tuned for registration information, event changes, and how we will continue to fundraise so we can create a sustainable event and sustainable Down syndrome Outreach program in order to continue to grow and expand in the ways our community needs.

Ways you can continue to help….

  1. Become a Buddy Walk sponsor, or connect with businesses for monetary sponsorship opportunities. Contact Jessika to learn how.
  2. Make a cash donation to Down syndrome Outreach:
    • Share information with family and friends!
    •  You can also donate through the Arc of Whatcom County website by clicking Here. Please note on your donation that the funds are in support of Buddy Walk.
  3. Personalize the Family Friendly Sponsor letter (word document) with your family names (in highlighted areas), and send to family members & friends to ask for their monetary support. You can also share the March Newsletter article with them.
  4. Do you have ‘Event Organization’ experience? The DsO Advisory Board is looking for a responsible, effective, dedicated leaders to act as an official Chairperson for the 2018 Buddy Walk. Please contact Jessika Houston at

Buddy Walk Chairperson 2018 Job Description

Serve as main event coordinator for event, or work with another co-chair:

  • Coordinate event details such as food vendors, t-shirt ordering and organization, activity stations, necessary permits, and community partners & vendors at event
  • Serve as point person for day-of event with Parks & Recreation (Depot Market Square staff), vendors & volunteer leads
  • Work with Arc staff and bookkeeper to facilitate communications and vendor payments
  • Create and distribute communications to community regarding event, such as writing newsletter articles and other necessary publications
  • Update website with current event information
  • Organize volunteers for event:
    • Buddy Walk Planning Committee: helps with event details, hanging posters around Whatcom County & media outreach (connect with local magazines, newspapers, radio stations, etc.)
    • Volunteers for Day of Event: outreach to community, connect with volunteers, get people signed up and delegated to specific stations. Ensure there are enough volunteers for the event (around 60+ needed for day of)
  • Help to organize event sponsors, track & follow up with thank you’s
  • Organize supplies for event and transportation of items to venue

Start Date: ASAP

Schedule is open/flexible. Starting July ~10+ hours per week.

Please let Jessika know if you have any questions!


Jessika Houston

Down syndrome Outreach Coordinator & Self-Advocacy Coordinator


Phone: (360)715-0170 ext. 304


Buddy Walk 2016 040





Click here to watch the 2017 DsO Buddy Walk of Whatcom County Video!

Want to Get Involved? Here’s How:

Donate & Help Raise Money

The money raised will support local programs for individuals with Down syndrome. With everyone’s active participation and generous support, the possibilities for great services and events become endless!

2016 Buddy Walk



Down syndrome Outreach is a volunteer committee of family members and compassionate friends.  Volunteers are always needed on the day of the event to help set up, give directions, hand out information, and more.

Encourage friends and family to join you!





Check out our Facebook Page & share the event!

See photos from the 2015 walk HERE & the 2016 walk HERE.


This event will be held in an accessible location and sign language interpretation is provided.




The Buddy Walk is co-sponsored by Bellingham Parks and Rec.

parks and rec logo



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