Buddy of the Year

The Buddy of The Year has been given by the Down Syndrome Association of Atlanta since 2006 to a person with Down syndrome age 16 or older who serves as a role model for other individuals with Down syndrome and has achieved in an area of education, service or special interest. The Buddy of the Year will serve as the organization's  Buddy Ambassador and will be the Grand Marshall of the Atlanta Buddy Walk. 

Qualities of a Buddy of the Year

This award is to acknowledge, celebrate and give recognition to an individual with Down syndrome over the age of 16 who:

  • Excels in at least one area of talent and personal interest
  • Demonstrates leadership qualities among his/her peers
  • Volunteers time to enhance the lives of others
  • Has made an important contribution to the community
  • He or she is a great role model for other individuals with Down syndrome
  • Will serve as an Ambassador (Representative of DSAA)  

Nominations are open for 2015, download here!

The 10th Annual DSAA Buddy of the Year Award will be announced on October 9th, and nomination forms can be downloaded here.  The winner will serve as DSAA’s Ambassador and as the Grand Marshall at the Atlanta Buddy Walk on Sunday, October 18, 2015 in Centennial Park.

Our 2014 Buddy of the Year was Aaron Cali.

Our 2013 Buddy of the Year was Bess Winebarger. 

Our 2012 Buddy of the Year was Christopher Currere. 


The DSAA also honors others who have made significant contributions to the Down syndrome community in metro Atlanta, including:

  • Educator of the Year recognizing an educator whose work reflects significant educational success for students with Down syndrome, the highest standards of educational quality and who advocates for the success of his/her students. 

  • Advocate of the Year for an individual who has made significant efforts to influence public policy and perception on behalf of individuals with special needs and for individuals with Down syndrome in particular.

  • Volunteer of the Year to an individual who through his or her volunteer efforts has made a significant contribution to the Down Syndrome Association of Atlanta and its members

  • Sponsor of the Year recognizing a corporation whose sponsorship with monetary or in kind, has helped the Down Syndrome Association of Atlanta better serve its members through programs, support and education.