“Rise and shine” seemed to be the motto of most everyone attending the Best Buddies Friendship Walk early on a Saturday morning. Held at Miromar Outlets, it was the first Best Buddies Friendship Walk for Southwest Florida. The fantastic attendance was an indicator of how popular this event is, and how important the message is to share. Games, face painting, therapy dogs, a fire truck and ambulance, and entertainment were just some of the highlights. The fundraising goal of $30,000 was exceeded. A worldwide, nonprofit organization, Best Buddies emphasizes inclusion for individuals with developmental as well as intellectual disabilities. The focus is on one-on-one friendships, inclusive living, and employment, among other areas. Many local schools and organizations were represented.