Submitted by Karen Joyner and Paige Hanson –
Robert and Maggie have been friends for three years. They meet for a Tim Horton’s coffee every two weeks. But this is no ordinary friendship. For the past 45 years, Robert has lived in a group home. Thanks to Best Buddies Canada, Robert and Maggie have a blossoming friendship that brings them both a lot of joy.
The sad reality is that after reaching the age of 21, many people, like Robert, who have intellectual or developmental disabilities (IDDs) may never spend time with anyone besides a paid caregiver or family. Best Buddies fosters understanding, friendship and inclusion for people with and without IDDs. And the beautiful thing is that Robert has had just as much of an impact on Maggie’s life as she has had on his.
Students from the Algonquin College public relations program are raising awareness and funds for Best Buddies with their AnyBuddy Can campaign. The goal is to raise $30,000, which will go directly to the 16 Best Buddies chapters in Ottawa.
One of the fundraising events coming up is Carnival for a Cause, which takes place in Westboro at the Clocktower Brew Pub (418 Richmond Rd.) on Friday, April 6 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sip on specialty drinks while magician Brennan Barrett performs mind-blowing magic tricks. Guests can also get a glimpse into their future thanks to Colleen McIntosh of Angel Divinations. Enjoy homemade ice cream from Ice Gold Creamery as you pose for a digital caricature portrait by Huda Abbas.
There will also be a raffle featuring many items generously donated by Westboro businesses including Ollie Quinn, Baker Street Café, Shoppers Drug Mart, The Savoy Brasserie, DeLuca Hair, The Village Quire, Cococo, Fashion United, Freshii, The Clocktower Brew Pub, Richmond Beauty Salon, Westboro Pharmasave, and more.
The Algonquin PR students behind Carnival for a Cause are grateful for the generosity of the Westboro community. “During the past few weeks, we’ve walked door-to-door shaking hands with many Westboro business owners,” says organizer Lisa Sundue. “It’s truly heartwarming that so many people want to support this cause. We’ve met so many wonderful people and have fallen in love with Westboro.”
Councillor Jeff Leiper can’t wait for the event and hopes residents will come out. “It’s a unique event for a great cause. Best Buddies does great work across the country aligned with the importance we place in our community on inclusion,” says Leiper. “Thanks go especially to all the sponsors in Westboro who contributed. Westboro merchants are amazing.”
Karen Joyner and Paige Hanson are public relations students at Algonquin College.