Training, Advocacy and Making a Difference: Photographing the National Down Syndrome Society’s Buddy Walk on Washington

Another favorite annual event to photograph and attend with the National Down Syndrome Society is the springtime Buddy Walk on Washington. This event is where you see advocacy in its greatest form displayed right in front of your eyes, with big dreams, big requests and big moments.

It’s a two-day event that ends with hundreds of self-advocates with Down syndrome and their loved ones -- friends, siblings, parents, aunts, neighbors -- taking on Capitol Hill with meetings with representatives of their home states Congress and Senate asking for fair and equal opportunities in areas like employment, education, marriage and health. Nothing special -- just exactly what everyone else is able to receive in the United States.

But first, the Buddy Walk on Washington event begins with training. Senators and Congressmen and their staff see so many constituents on a daily basis that you really want to stand out. NDSS wants their advocates to make an impression and help get these important people on our team. So, a company called SoapBox leads trainings the day before the actual meetings to teach those in attendance how to make the most of their 10 or 15 minutes in each office.

It’s amazing how even first-time attendees can seem like old pros by the time they get to their first meeting on the second day.

Like most great NDSS events, there was a dance party, too!

But perhaps my favorite moment was when Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy took one of his constituents and her family to the Speaker’s Balcony on Capitol Hill, with its magnificent views of Washington, DC.

Enjoy this peek into a fantastic event!

Wendy Zook Photography | NDSS Events, NDSS Buddy Walk on Washington 2019, Washington DC, Down Syndrome Advocacy, Down Syndrome advocate, National Down Syndrome Society, Washington DC
Wendy Zook Photography | NDSS Events, NDSS Buddy Walk on Washington 2019, Washington DC, Down Syndrome Advocacy, Down Syndrome advocate, National Down Syndrome Society, Washington DC
Wendy Zook Photography | NDSS Events, NDSS Buddy Walk on Washington 2019, Washington DC, Down Syndrome Advocacy, Down Syndrome advocate, National Down Syndrome Society, Washington DC
Wendy Zook Photography | NDSS Events, NDSS Buddy Walk on Washington 2019, Washington DC, Down Syndrome Advocacy, Down Syndrome advocate, National Down Syndrome Society, Washington DC
Wendy Zook Photography | NDSS Events, NDSS Buddy Walk on Washington 2019, Washington DC, Down Syndrome Advocacy, Down Syndrome advocate, National Down Syndrome Society, Washington DC
Wendy Zook Photography | NDSS Events, NDSS Buddy Walk on Washington 2019, Washington DC, Down Syndrome Advocacy, Down Syndrome advocate, National Down Syndrome Society, Washington DC
Wendy Zook Photography | NDSS Events, NDSS Buddy Walk on Washington 2019, Washington DC, Down Syndrome Advocacy, Down Syndrome advocate, National Down Syndrome Society, Washington DC
Wendy Zook Photography | NDSS Events, NDSS Buddy Walk on Washington 2019, Washington DC, Down Syndrome Advocacy, Down Syndrome advocate, National Down Syndrome Society, Washington DC
Wendy Zook Photography | NDSS Events, NDSS Buddy Walk on Washington 2019, Washington DC, Down Syndrome Advocacy, Down Syndrome advocate, National Down Syndrome Society, Washington DC
Wendy Zook Photography | NDSS Events, NDSS Buddy Walk on Washington 2019, Washington DC, Down Syndrome Advocacy, Down Syndrome advocate, National Down Syndrome Society, Washington DC
Wendy Zook Photography | NDSS Events, NDSS Buddy Walk on Washington 2019, Washington DC, Down Syndrome Advocacy, Down Syndrome advocate, National Down Syndrome Society, Washington DC
Wendy Zook Photography | NDSS Events, NDSS Buddy Walk on Washington 2019, Washington DC, Down Syndrome Advocacy, Down Syndrome advocate, National Down Syndrome Society, Washington DC
Wendy Zook Photography | NDSS Events, NDSS Buddy Walk on Washington 2019, Washington DC, Down Syndrome Advocacy, Down Syndrome advocate, National Down Syndrome Society, Washington DC
Wendy Zook Photography | NDSS Events, NDSS Buddy Walk on Washington 2019, Washington DC, Down Syndrome Advocacy, Down Syndrome advocate, National Down Syndrome Society, Washington DC
Wendy Zook Photography | NDSS Events, NDSS Buddy Walk on Washington 2019, Washington DC, Down Syndrome Advocacy, Down Syndrome advocate, National Down Syndrome Society, Washington DC
Wendy Zook Photography | NDSS Events, NDSS Buddy Walk on Washington 2019, Washington DC, Down Syndrome Advocacy, Down Syndrome advocate, National Down Syndrome Society, Washington DC
Wendy Zook Photography | NDSS Events, NDSS Buddy Walk on Washington 2019, Washington DC, Down Syndrome Advocacy, Down Syndrome advocate, National Down Syndrome Society, Washington DC
Wendy Zook Photography | NDSS Events, NDSS Buddy Walk on Washington 2019, Washington DC, Down Syndrome Advocacy, Down Syndrome advocate, National Down Syndrome Society, Washington DC
Wendy Zook Photography | NDSS Events, NDSS Buddy Walk on Washington 2019, Washington DC, Down Syndrome Advocacy, Down Syndrome advocate, National Down Syndrome Society, Washington DC
Wendy Zook Photography | NDSS Events, NDSS Buddy Walk on Washington 2019, Washington DC, Down Syndrome Advocacy, Down Syndrome advocate, National Down Syndrome Society, Washington DC
Wendy Zook Photography | NDSS Events, NDSS Buddy Walk on Washington 2019, Washington DC, Down Syndrome Advocacy, Down Syndrome advocate, National Down Syndrome Society, Washington DC
Wendy Zook Photography | NDSS Events, NDSS Buddy Walk on Washington 2019, Washington DC, Down Syndrome Advocacy, Down Syndrome advocate, National Down Syndrome Society, Washington DC
Wendy Zook Photography | NDSS Events, NDSS Buddy Walk on Washington 2019, Washington DC, Down Syndrome Advocacy, Down Syndrome advocate, National Down Syndrome Society, Washington DC
Wendy Zook Photography | NDSS Events, NDSS Buddy Walk on Washington 2019, Washington DC, Down Syndrome Advocacy, Down Syndrome advocate, National Down Syndrome Society, Washington DC
Wendy Zook Photography | NDSS Events, NDSS Buddy Walk on Washington 2019, Washington DC, Down Syndrome Advocacy, Down Syndrome advocate, National Down Syndrome Society, Washington DC
Wendy Zook Photography | NDSS Events, NDSS Buddy Walk on Washington 2019, Washington DC, Down Syndrome Advocacy, Down Syndrome advocate, National Down Syndrome Society, Washington DC
Wendy Zook Photography | NDSS Events, NDSS Buddy Walk on Washington 2019, Washington DC, Down Syndrome Advocacy, Down Syndrome advocate, National Down Syndrome Society, Washington DC
Wendy Zook Photography | NDSS Events, NDSS Buddy Walk on Washington 2019, Washington DC, Down Syndrome Advocacy, Down Syndrome advocate, National Down Syndrome Society, Washington DC
Wendy Zook Photography | NDSS Events, NDSS Buddy Walk on Washington 2019, Washington DC, Down Syndrome Advocacy, Down Syndrome advocate, National Down Syndrome Society, Washington DC
Wendy Zook Photography | NDSS Events, NDSS Buddy Walk on Washington 2019, Washington DC, Down Syndrome Advocacy, Down Syndrome advocate, National Down Syndrome Society, Washington DC
Wendy Zook Photography | NDSS Events, NDSS Buddy Walk on Washington 2019, Washington DC, Down Syndrome Advocacy, Down Syndrome advocate, National Down Syndrome Society, Washington DC