Best Buddies Friendship Walk set for this weekend

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The Best Buddies Friendship Walk supports inclusion for people with certain disabilities and their Albuquerque walk is this Saturday.

The walk is put on by Best Buddies, an organization working nationwide, including in New Mexico.

“The mission of best buddies is to create social inclusion and economic inclusion opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” said Tessah Latson, the state director of Best Buddies NM.

One of the ways they do this is by supporting people who can’t

“I sell coasters at Catalyst Coffee and I hand-make them myself,” Jessana said.

Jessana said Best Buddies helped her get there.

“I have seizures, so I can’t get a regular job as a normal person would,” she said. “My transition teachers referred me to Best Buddies and it helped me to start my own business and it’s been amazing.”

In New Mexico, Best Buddies partners with several organizations. In doing so, they allow people with IDD to secure a job and become more independent.

People like Jordan, who has held jobs at UNMH and a retail store.

“Every Friday, I get paid and I go shopping,” Jordan said.

“As a mom, you want those things for your children, so that has been a huge thing just to see her grow and just be able to have that independence and be her own person,” said Samantha, Jordan’s mom.

Best Buddies not only works to connect people with jobs but also helps them develop friendships and become leaders.

To keep their mission going, they also rely on fundraisers. One of the biggest fundraisers is their annual friendship walks.

For Jordan, Jessana and others, like Gracie, this year will be the first time they will take part in the walk.

“A fun day to be me and be a Down syndrome girl, in a cute way,” Jordan said.

The walk is happening June 10. You can register or also show up on the day of.

Best Buddies ultimately hopes to expand and also help more people with intellectual and developmental disabilities across our state.

The organization is close to reaching its fundraising goal as its Albuquerque walk comes this Saturday. You can learn more about that and the walk by clicking here.