SAN ANTONIO – Best Buddies, an international, non-profit organization dedicated to helping those with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), will hold its Friendship Walk on Saturday, Sept. 29, at Morgan’s Wonderland.

The casual stroll around the ultra-accessible™, world-renowned theme park’s lake will begin with registration at 7:30 a.m., opening ceremonies at 8 and wrap-up festivities at 9:15 including refreshments and music provided by a DJ.  Awards will be presented to the participants, and walkers that raise $50 or more for Best Buddies will receive a Friendship Walk t-shirt.

Registration can be accomplished online at www.BestBuddiesFriendshipWalk.org/SanAntonio.

“Best Buddies is relatively new to San Antonio, and we’re looking forward to bringing together those with and without IDD to make connections and form phenomenal friendships,” said Ashlynn Bridges, Best Buddies Texas program manager.  “It’s the world’s largest organization dedicated to ending the social, physical and economic isolation of the 200 million people with IDD.

“Our programs empower the special abilities of people with IDD by helping them form meaningful friendships with their peers; securing successful jobs; living independently; improving public speaking, self-advocacy and communication skills; and feeling valued by society.”

The IDD community that Best Buddies serves includes, but is not limited to, people of all ages with Down syndrome, autism, Fragile X, Williams syndrome, cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury and other undiagnosed disabilities, Bridges noted.

Ron Morander, Morgan’s Wonderland general manager, said the theme park “is delighted to serve as a focal point where Best Buddies can come together and build lasting relationships in our atmosphere of inclusion.”

The only theme park of its kind in the world, Morgan’s Wonderland offers more than 25 attractions including wheelchair-accessible rides, playgrounds and gardens for everyone’s enjoyment.  Paralyzed Veterans of America recently honored Morgan’s Wonderland and next-door Morgan’s Inspiration Island splash park with the 2018 Barrier-Free America Award, which attests to the parks’ mission of inclusion – bringing together those with and without disabilities for fun and better understanding of one another.  Both parks admit those with physical or cognitive challenges free of charge.

Non-profit Morgan’s Wonderland will be open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and other select days through the end of 2018.  Morgan’s Inspiration Island will be closed until warm weather returns next spring.

For the latest information on Morgan’s Wonderland days and hours of operation, attractions, admissions and special events, visit www.MorgansWonderland.com.  The park is located at 5223 David Edwards Drive in Northeast San Antonio a half-mile west of IH 35 at the intersection of Wurzbach Parkway and Thousand Oaks Drive.

Anthony Kennedy Shriver founded the original Best Buddies Chapter at Georgetown University in 1987.  Incorporated as a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization in 1989, Best Buddies became America’s first national, unified, social and recreational program for people with IDD.  The first three Best Buddies programs in Texas were organized in fall 1991, and since then, Best Buddies has expanded to 95 school programs around the state.  More information is available at www.BestBuddies.org.

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