The 2014 Best Buddies Friendship Walk April 12

PDQ Operating Manager, Andy Sansone and Sam Piazza
PDQ Operating Manager, Andy Sansone and Sam Piazza
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* Walk
* Best Buddies
* Tampa
* Friendship
* Special Needs

* Health
* Non-profit

* Tampa - Florida - US

* Events

TAMPA, Fla. - March 17, 2014 - PRLog -- Best Buddies will hold its annual Friendship Walk on Saturday, April 12, 2014 at Gadsden Park in Tampa, FL. The Friendship Walk is one of the organization’s largest community events of the year and will raise funds and awareness for Best Buddies Tampa Bay, which creates opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). More than 500 supporters with and without disabilities will walk for friendship and the overall enhancement of the lives of people with IDD. Registration is free and open to the public online at

“I am so proud of how the Best Buddies Friendship Walk has grown over the past few years in attendance and through our sponsors who not only support Best Buddies but also help promote the mission of integrated employment,” said Wendy Brady, Best Buddies Tampa Bay Advisory Board Member and Walk Chairperson. “Our relationship with local fast-casual restaurant brand and sponsor, PDQ, originated last year through Best Buddies Ambassador, Sam Piazza who has Down Syndrome and works at their Carrollwood, FL location. Sam’s employment with PDQ is a powerful example of local businesses recognizing the talent and abilities of individuals with IDD.”

According to PDQ Operating Director, Andy Sansone, having Sam on the team has been a win-win for everyone. “Sam is a delightful young man and an important team member on our staff. He is an inspiration and role-model to many people his age with IDD.”

While Sam has been fortunate, there is still much progress to be made in hiring individuals with disabilities. According to a recent Washington Post article, “Most Americans with intellectual or developmental disabilities remain shut out of the workforce, despite changing attitudes and billions of dollars spent on government programs to help them.” The Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp) is also sponsoring this year’s event. The organization, in partnership with Best Buddies International and ProjectSEARCH, conducted a study on intellectual and developmental disability employment to be released this spring by i4cp. Their findings reveal nearly three-quarters of employers of people with IDD report a positive experience and, of those, nearly one-third say the experience exceeded their expectations.

Best Buddies is a groundbreaking nonprofit founded in 1989 by Anthony K. Shriver, whose mission is to establish a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with IDD.

The 5k walk around Gadsden Park begins at 9:30 a.m. with opening ceremonies featuring Best Buddies Ambassadors and Councilman Mike Suarez. Following the walk, participants will enjoy DJ music and dancing, a bounce house, games, activities, raffle prizes, as well as complimentary food and beverages donated by PDQ, PepsiCo and Starbucks.

To learn more about the Best Buddies Friendship Walk, or to register to walk, please visit or contact Mae Mastrorio, Area Director - Best Buddies Tampa Bay at 813-254-9025 ext. 301.

About Best Buddies International

Best Buddies® is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Founded in 1989 by Anthony K. Shriver, Best Buddies is a vibrant organization that has grown from one original chapter to almost 1,500 middle school, high school, and college chapters worldwide. Today, Best Buddies’ seven formal programs – Middle Schools, High Schools, Colleges, Citizens, e-Buddies® , Jobs and Ambassadors – engage participants in each of the 50 states and in 50 countries, positively impacting the lives of nearly 700,000 people with and without disabilities around the world. As a result of their involvement with Best Buddies, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities secure rewarding jobs, live on their own, become inspirational leaders, and make lifelong friendships. For more information, please

Mae Mastrorio
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Tags:Walk, Best Buddies, Tampa, Friendship, Special Needs
Industry:Health, Non-profit
Location:Tampa - Florida - United States
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