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Sanibel team raising funds for Best Buddies walk

By Staff | Apr 2, 2019

Best Buddies Southwest Florida will host its first-ever fundraising walk this weekend in Estero – a walk for inclusion – and the student chapter at The Sanibel School is registered to take part.

The Best Buddies Friendship Walk, titled “Party in the Park,” will be held on April 6 from 8 a.m. to noon at the Miromar Outlets. The celebration will include a one-mile walk, along with music provided by a live deejay, face painting, games, jump houses, food, crafts and activities for people of all ages.

Earlier this year, the islands’ first Best Buddies chapter formed at the school.

Robin Lear, an ESE and intervention specialist at The Sanibel School and one of the club’s faculty advisors, explained that about 10 or more members are planing to take part in the fundraiser.

“(We’re) working on raising $1,500,” she said.

Robin Lear

The Sanibel chapter is registered online as team KindnessBuddies.

Asked how the members feel about the walk, Lear said they are “very excited.”

Best Buddies is an international organization and is active in all 50 states in the United States. In Florida, it is represented in 212 elementary, middle and high schools and on college campuses. Best Buddies Southwest Florida operates in seven cities, including chapters in 14 Lee County schools.

The organization’s mission is to enhance the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. One way it strives to do so is by bringing together children with and without disabilities to help promote friendships without distinctions and an understanding of one another’s differences.

“Best Buddies has taken new territory in the short year that it has been present in Southwest Florida,” Best Buddies Southwest Florida said in a recent prepared statement. “Going from having two school chapters to now over 20 school chapters, Best Buddies is closing the gap on an isolated community and bringing elementary- to college-aged students together through the ‘buddy’ system.”

The total fundraising goal for the walk is $30,000.

“But the ultimate goal is inclusion,” Best Buddies Southwest Florida said. “(It is) a walk dedicated to ending the social, physical and economic isolation of the 200 million people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.”

People can register and walk with the Sanibel team or show their support by donating.

“We appreciate your support,” Lear said.

To register or make a donation, visit online at www.bestbuddiesfriendshipwalk.org/southwestflorida and click on “Find A Team,” then search for “KindnessBuddies.”

For more information, email robinlle@leeschools.net or gregoryjbe@leeschools.net.

For more about the Best Buddies organization, visit www.bestbuddies.org.

Miromar Outlets is at 10801 Corkscrew Road, Estero.