Inaugural Buddy Paddle Event to Raise Awareness for Best Buddies Program

A father of two special needs children organizes a stand-up paddleboarding event in hopes of establishing a new Best Buddies chapter at Winter Park high school.

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Organized by Winter Park resident Jonathan Lowe, the inaugural Buddy Paddle stand-up paddleboarding event will raise awareness for the Best Buddies program. Lowe hopes to raise $8,000 to establish a new Best Buddies chapter at Winter Park High School. The event will be held on Saturday, March 5, 2016 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Paddleboard Orlando located at 115 N. Orlando Avenue.

Attendees have the option of bringing their own paddleboards and paying a $10 launch fee, with half of the proceeds going directly to Best Buddies Florida, or renting a paddleboard for $25, with 10 percent of the proceeds benefitting the organization. Instructors will be available on-site to teach beginners. And in addition to paddleboarding, the event will also include a silent auction, refreshments and more.

“As the father of two special needs boys, nothing makes me smile more than when they’re invited to a party or a dance, or [get] a call from a friend. Just being included can be a real life-changer for them,” Lowe states.

Lowe’s 22-year-old son, Oliver, is a member of Best Buddies Florida. According to Lowe, Oliver’s social life blossomed virtually overnight when he became involved with the organization.

“The Best Buddies organization has changed Oliver’s life in such a positive way. He now has so many friends and invitations to go places and do things, I can hardly keep up. Because of the way Best Buddies has transformed my son’s life, I want to help spread the word about the good work they’re doing,” says Lowe.

Buddy Paddle is sponsored by Sutherlin Nissan, and supported by Paddleboard Orlando, The Down Syndrome Association of Central Florida, and Best Buddies Florida.

Best Buddies Florida offers one-to-one friendship, integrated employment, and leadership development programs – positively impacting nearly 104,640 individuals with and without disabilities in Florida. Best Buddies is the world’s largest organization dedicated to ending the social, physical and economic isolation of the 200 million people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). For more information about Best Buddies, visit To learn more and register for Buddy Paddle, visit







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