by Vanessa McCracken
What could be better than a bike ride along the Pacific Coast Highway, with ocean views, rest stops, and support vehicles the whole way?
How about a huuuge party at Hearst Castle, after getting a post-ride hot shower and free massage on the beach! And a free up-close-and-personal concert by performers like the Beach Boys or the Black Eye Peas! Plus, rubbing elbows with celebrities like Maria Shriver, Cindy Crawford, Barry Bonds, Rob Lowe and professional cyclists like George Hincapie and Christian Vande Velde!
Most importantly, how about knowing that it all benefits Best Buddies, and the organization’s mission to end the social, physical, and economic isolation of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).
The Best Buddies Challenge is a five-star event on California’s beautiful Central Coast that is organized to raise awareness and funds for its programs. The IDD community that Best Buddies serves includes, but is not limited to, people with Down Syndrome, Autism, Fragile X, Williams Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, traumatic brain injury and other undiagnosed disabilities.
The Best Buddies mission is three-fold:
1) Build friendships between people with and without IDD, offering social mentoring while improving the quality of life and level of inclusion
2) Secure jobs for people with IDD, allowing them to earn an income, pay taxes, and support themselves
3) Educate and empower people with and without IDD, to be leaders, public speakers, and advocates.
Best Buddies recently opened a chapter in Fresno, and set straight to work serving the Central Valley. Within weeks of opening, Friendship Programs were started at Bullard High School, Sanger High School, and Washington Academic Middle School (in Sanger). Plans are underway on more Valley campuses as I write this. The plan as I understand it is to focus initial efforts on the first leg of the Best Buddies mission (friendship) before branching out to focus on the other two legs (jobs and leadership).
This is where the Best Buddies Challenge, the Best Buddies Central Valley team, and you come in! We need your help to welcome Best Buddies to the Central Valley, and to help raise as much awareness and funds as possible to help the organization thrive here. Together, we can help Best Buddies bring friendship, leadership, and jobs to all in our Valley.
Best Buddies Central Valley is hosting an information night at Sunnyside Bicycles on January 25. Please join us if you would like to learn more about the organization, the bike ride, the run (oh, we forgot to mention there’s a 5k run/walk with none other than CARL LEWIS as part of the event!), or just how to volunteer to be a Buddy!
Representatives from Best Buddies will be there, as will families who are involved with the program locally so that you can see the program’s impact firsthand.
Best Buddies is bringing snacks and prizes—including free registrations and jerseys, Gallo Winery is bringing beverages, and we promise you’ll leave uplifted and inspired. More details on the Information Night can be found at Sunnyside Bicycles.com, as well as our Facebook page.
To follow the team as we train for the event, check out our updates on the Best Buddies Central Valley Instagram page.
As we kick off the new year and are thinking about resolutions, why not join us as we get fit, build community, give back, and have fun all at the same time? It’s going to be a year to remember!
Sunnyside Bicycles is located at 6105 E. Kings Canyon Road (at Fowler, one mile west of 180 and Temperance next to GB3) in Fresno and is now open 7 days a week! Hours are Monday through Friday from 10-7, Saturday from 9-5 and Sunday from 12-5. Check out our ride calendar and join the fun!
Watch for Sunnyside Bicycles column every month here at KRL! And learn more on their website.