Commitment is defined as a personal pledge to help a cause – an obligation to fulfill a promise. As an educator, Holli Armstrong has spent the better part of the past 25 years in our public schools – eight years as Principal of Oakdale Elementary here in Dedham.
Early on in her career, Ms. Armstrong was significantly impacted by the relationships that teachers have with their students who have intellectual or cognitive disabilities.
Since becoming Principal, Ms. Armstrong has worked hard to ensure the full integration of children with (IDD) intellectual and developmental disabilities in our schools.
About 10 years ago, Holli Armstrong met and befriended a then 3rd grader named Allie Iannoni. Allie is a young woman with Down's Syndrome. Ms. Armstrong tells us of mornings she “would have to call the Iannoni house and let Allie know that she was waiting for her in school…” The two have been fast friends ever since.
A couple of years ago, Ms. Armstrong heard advertisements for the “Best Buddies Challenge” Annual Fundraiser. She thinks it was N.E. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady's voice, inviting people to join him or be a sponsor, that first caught her attention.
Best Buddies is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to establishing a volunteer movement of one-to-one friendships, along with integrated employment and education for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Best Buddies was founded in 1989 by Anthony K. Shriner, and has grown from one original chapter to almost 1,500 currently in all 50 states. The more Ms. Armstrong learned about the Best Buddies Program, the more she knew that she had to get involved.
There are three categories to participate in this event. You can bike ride (100 miles from Boston to Hyannis or 50 miles from Carver to Hyannis) – you can run (5K – 3.1 miles) in Hyannis Port or you can walk with the whole family (also 5K). For the past two years, Principal Armstrong, her sister Caitlin and brother-in-law Sean McDonnell, have completed the 100 mile ride to Cape Cod – in honor of Allie Iannoni.
Last year, the trio, along with hundreds of other cyclists, battled a 25mph wind and a cold, steady rain, still finishing their goal!
This year, due to previous commitments and scheduling conflicts, Principal Armstrong has signed on for the 50-mile ride to Cape Cod – to be held on Saturday, June 1, 2013.
As a result of these dedicated people, the money raised each year has secured people with IDD rewarding jobs, secure home and school settings, and helped grow lifelong friendships.
To show Ms. Armstrong your appreciation for her continued involvement, and to make a donation in her name for Allie – please visit: http://www.kintera.org/faf/donorReg/donorPledge.asp?ievent=1028098&supid=332206519