By

Staff Reports

More than 250 teams competed to raise funds to support the Down Syndrome Association of Middle Tennessee at the 21st annual Nashville Buddy Walk on Saturday at the Hermitage, and among those teams included 10 schools that accepted the Buddy Walk School Challenge.

Mt. Juliet Elementary School was named the winner Friday of the Buddy Walk School Challenge.

“The Buddy Walk School Challenge was created to recognize schools that get involved with their students with Down syndrome and showing that support,” said DSAMT executive director Alecia Talbott. “The school raising the most money receives a $1,000 grant for its special education program, a team headquarters, professional training and a big trophy.”

Mt. Juliet Elementary School principal Ginger Ash said, “Mt. Juliet Elementary is a proud supporter of DSAMT and the Nashville Buddy Walk. As a school, our faculty and staff foster a community culture where all students are included, celebrated and supported. We are honored to be able to accept this award and are flattered to be recognized at this wonderful event.”

“The Nashville Buddy Walk is all about celebrating all individuals, promoting acceptance and inclusion in our community.  Having our local schools participate in this event each year has meant a great deal to our participants with Down syndrome and their families,” said Talbott.

Mt. Juliet Elementary School has three students with Down syndrome, and its Boy Scout Pack presented the flag Saturday at the Buddy Walk for the third year in a row.

The Nashville Buddy Walk is Tennessee’s largest event to raise awareness of and celebrate individuals with Down syndrome. It is a free annual event that will take place on Saturday from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. and will include a live music concert from the Blues Brokers, food, inflatables, vendors, exhibitors, activities, crafts, games, character meet-and-greet and more. About 250 teams compete to be the top fundraisers. More than a dozen school cheer teams from Middle Tennessee will cheer on teams during the less than one-mile parade-like walk, and everyone with Down syndrome will be presented a medal at the end of the walk.

“This event recognizes and celebrates those with Down syndrome. Everyone quickly sees that individuals with Down syndrome have extraordinary gifts to contribute to communities,” said Talbott. “That is why this event has become such a well-known and popular family activity for all of Middle Tennessee, not just those who have a direct connection to someone with Down syndrome.” 

The Nashville Buddy Walk was a Nashville community event open to anyone. It was one of more than 250 Buddy Walks that took place across the U.S. President and CEO of the National Down Syndrome Society Sara Hart Weir attended the event. Learn more about the Nashville Buddy Walk at nashvillebuddywalk.org and the National Down Syndrome Society at ndss.org.

Proceeds from the Nashville Buddy Walk will fund DSAMT programs.

For more information, visit somethingextra.org or like DSAMT on Facebook.