Seaside - A group of Seaside High School students will help lead a "Buddy Walk" Saturday to raise awareness and promote acceptance of people with Down syndrome.

Students Jackie Bermingham and Jenna and Brenna Archibald spent much of the summer promoting the event - posting signs in North Coast neighborhoods and spending well over the 50 hours required to complete their senior Pacifica projects, according to the walk's executive director.

The high schoolers also visited local businesses to solicit donations, which will be raffled off with proceeds benefiting the event's sponsor, the North Coast Down Syndrome Network.

The nonprofit started in spring 2005 to provide support and information to North Coast families affected by Down syndrome.

Organizations across the country will host similar one-mile walks during October, national Down Syndrome Awareness Month.

Participants who register for the first-ever annual "Buddy Walk at the Beach" will receive T-shirts to wear, which NCDSN Executive Director Debbie Sherman hopes will draw attention to the cause.

"Hopefully people within the community who aren't involved will ask," Sherman said. "The whole idea is to raise awareness, to let the community know we're here for support and to educate them."

The Buddy Walk begins at Quatat Park in Seaside, with registration starting at 10 a.m. and festivities following the walk around 11:30 a.m. Registration costs $5 per person in advance or $10 at the event, and it includes lunch, a T-shirt, goody bags for children and live entertainment. For more information, see (www.ncdsn.com)

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