Best Buddies representatives, from left, Cali O’Hare, Samantha Waring and Whitney Paulsen give a presentation to the Caron County Commission on Tuesday inside the courthouse, in Rawlins.

RAWLINS – Members of the Rawlins branch of Best Buddies Club, an international non-profit 501 organization, were quite busy on Tuesday.

Making appearances in both County Commission and Rawlins City Council chambers, the Rawlins High School students aimed to garner all the support they can for their upcoming Friendship Walk fundraiser, slated for March 17.

Best Buddies, according to its goal, is a group that helps “create opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.” Although there are several state chapters nationwide, Wyoming only currently holds expansion status.

According to local BB representatives, they aim to change that.

“And how we’re going to do this is a Friendship Walk,” Samantha Waring, RHS senior and Best Buddies spokesperson, told commissioners Tuesday.

Before now and March, the group looks to raise $25,000 for the event, which will be a mile and half-long walk at Washington Park. It’s free to register, and any team that raises at least $50 is eligible to win teeshirts.

Once the walk is complete, says fellow BB Officer and RHS senior Whitney Paulsen, games and catering will be made available.

Arguably the main attraction of the event, however, definitely qualifies as a special treat. A screening of award-winning documentarist Brian Donovan’s piece Kelly’s Hollywood, a story about a woman who suffers from down syndrome, will be held at the high school later that day.

The local Best Buddies chapter hopes all the festivities will help garner enough funds to build a legacy that has the potential to change the state as a whole.

Thus far, $700 has been raised for the Friendship Walk. As for the possibility of attracting a state office, which could actually be located in Rawlins, among other Cowboy State cities, the organization looks to raise $250,000.

“We’re really hoping that this will bring us a good lump sum of the money that we need for the state office so that we can expand our program to other schools,” Selena Landa, BB President, told city council members on Tuesday night.

Landa says high schools in Jackson and Laramie as well as the University of Wyoming are already helping with raising funds. In addition, the Rawlins chapter is currently working with places like Rock Springs and Green River.

Having been busy over the last year, some additional local Best Buddies accomplishments include the “Spread the Word to End the Word” campaign, which was signed by former Gov. Matt Mead, and being named for the Expansion of the Year Award at their annual leadership conference at Indiana University.

Rawlins High School is lauded for sending record amounts of representatives to this event.

To donate, or to check out event details, visit Rawlins High School Best Buddies Facebook page, or their website, https://www.bestbuddiesfriendshipwalk.org/wyoming/supporting/?fbclid=IwAR212QclHdO88hBTzc9cwirdtRk6RxFOUZUkbGVHA3mgWSzf81YvMSb0s6Q#outlawbuddies

“Any donation big or small will really, really help,” said Waring.

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