Alongside family and supporters, Best Buddies International celebrated 20 years of friendship with a carnival at noon on Saturday on Copley Lawn.
Best Buddies is a nonprofit organization that was started by Anthony Kennedy Shriver (COL ’88) while he was a student here at Georgetown in 1989. Its mission is to facilitate one-on-one friendships between men and women with intellectual or developmental disabilities and their peers, while encouraging equity in the workplace and societal inclusion of all people regardless of ability.
With a dunk tank, arts and crafts, a barbecue and performances by Chimes, Phantoms, Irish Dance Club, GU Pep Band and Hawaiian Club for guests to enjoy, about 200 people attended the event, including Best Buddies members and their families. Best Buddies chapters from other schools such as University of Maryland and American University also were in attendance.
Shriver, the keynote speaker of the event, emphasized the need for the mission of Best Buddies to spread to other universities, high schools and communities throughout the country and the entire world. He also shared his goal to create an environment in which people with intellectual disabilities are able to receive degrees from four-year universities.
Kirsten Stone, a former Best Buddies member and a current global messenger for the Special Olympics Virginia Chapter, also delivered a brief speech.
Shriver and Fr. Kevin O’Brien, S.J. accepted a bench in Dahlgren Quad honoring Eunice Kennedy Shriver, Anthony’s mother. The presentation paid homage to her commitment to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, such as her work with the Special Olympics.
The first annual Eunice Kennedy Shriver Challenge will be held in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 23 of this year, with participants taking part in a 20-mile bike ride, a 5K run or a 3K walk throughout the city.
“The event was fantastic,” said Anne Kelts (COL ’11), co-activities chair and food services chair for Best Buddies. “We are really proud of the group.”