Today’s post is from Aaron. After reading this post, I can tell he is a true storyteller. Enjoy his perspective on the Buddy Walk, as someone who has never been to a “differences event” before.
On November 6th, 2011 I was sitting in a gymnasium full of the most enthusiastic people I had seen in a very long time. It was not a convention or a meeting, it was a community brought together by the simple idea of celebrating their difference. On the beautiful morning, I was participating in the annual Waterloo Region Down Syndrome Society Buddy Walk and it was here that I realized just how important BB Squared really is.
Growing up in your typical suburban home in Kitchener I knew very little about this community and did not realize what kinds of support systems were available in our area. Although I grew up with a parent who has a disability as the result of an accident, it was something my family held very close to our hearts and felt that there was little support. While we collectively educated ourselves on my mothers condition, I realized while attending The Buddy Walk that this is what the BB Squared community is truly all about.
Before I attended the Buddy Walk, I thought BB Squared was a great idea, and I appreciated that it had potential but I truly didn’t know to what affect. It wasn’t until I was sitting down with other participants, sharing stories, hearing about experiences, watching people talk triumphantly about overcoming seemingly impossible obstacles, that I truly understood the power of a movement like BB2. Although this event was a fundraiser, as I sat there and watched over 200 people smile from ear to ear, hold hands and stand in support of one another, I realized that is was so much more than that. This massive group of people made me realize that the core understanding of support and inclusion within a community not only makes you feel included, but it inspires life changes one way or another. Even though the majority of these people are greatly effected by Down Syndrome on a day to day basis, the excitement that came from sharing their own experiences with others shone in their eyes and smiles, and their enthusiasm was infectious.
For me, BB Squared extends way beyond the confines of differences and instead of focuses on the belief that when it comes down to it; we are all the same. There is value in the human spirit and by accepting someone and loving and supporting them for who they are, you are valuing human potential- who the person is and who they can be. BB Squared is not just a great idea, it is not just a one long event that will come and go once and year, it is a movement. A movement that will not only change the lives of others around us but will inspire each and every one of us to be everything we can be. Come! Get Excited! Join the movement!