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Cranston celebrates Best Buddies Day

WJAR

Mayor Allan Fung officially declared Saturday Best Buddies Day in Cranston.

His comments came ahead of the organization’s annual Friendship Walk which kicked off at Brayton Park in Cranston with the help of NBC10’s R.J. Heim.

The event featured many pairs of buddies, including Jack Clements and Eric Carter of Pilgrim High School.

"Just a new friend, just a great experience, doing activities with him, it's a great time," said Clements, a junior.

"I play volleyball and baseball with him," said Carter who is a senior.

Until now, there was no opportunity to stay in Best Buddies Rhode Island after high school. But earlier this year the organization expanded its reach to adults, as well as younger students.

"So we have a lot more programs to fund, we've expanded two in the past year with elementary school and our adult program," said Best Buddies Rhode Island State Director Matthew Netto.

Carlin Weirick and 18 year old Mari Valente of Middletown are paired up as part of the new adult program known as the Citizens Program.

“It's been a great opportunity. We've gone to the beach together, and we've had lunch a lot together, and we just like to hang out and talk and watch my dog," said Weirick.

"I like to see her doggie," said Valente.

After the walk Johnny Gates, the Rhode Islander who was a contestant on NBC’s “The Voice” sang for the crowd. Gates happened to be home this weekend before he is about to begin a two month tour.

"I think what they do is so important and the fact they're including music, it's a really cool event," said Gates.

Best Buddies Day was supposed to include the third annual BlumShapiro Softball Tournament, but that element of the event was postponed due to weather.

The rain did hold out long enough to get in the Friendship Walk, which not only raises money for Best Buddies Rhode Island but also awareness for the organization.

“We’re looking for people with and without disabilities that want to get paired up in a really special friendship,” said Netto.

To find out how you can get involved go to: https://www.bestbuddies.org/rhodeisland/

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