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2016 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Buddy Cruise Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Autism, Birth Defects & Genetic Diseases, Disabilities, Down Syndrome, Health

Mission: To provide educational opportunities and resources for families, while promoting awareness, acceptance, inclusion and advancement for individuals with Down syndrome and developmental delay through unique venues.

Target demographics: Serving families touched by Down syndrome and developmental delays globally.

Programs: Expenses associated with providing expert presenters for buddy cruise conference and events. Educational resources for families touched by special needs.

Community Stories

65 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Client Served

Rating: 5

When we found out about Buddy Cruise, the thought of taking my brother-in-law who is now 58 and has Down Syndrome on a cruise with is peers intrigued us. We found out how fantastic the people who plan this event every year are. They make sure there are activities to include all folks no matter what their disability, chances to do something you can not do at home, and make new friends who you can keep in touch with through the year.
My husband and I have taken my brother-in-law on the Buddy Cruise 3 times now and it has been an forgettable experience each time.
Buddy Cruise has the most caring and helpful people working to make the experiences unforgettable to the people who attend whether they are young or old, family or friends.
I would recommend this cruise to anyone who has a family member or friend with a disability.

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our family first found out about the Buddy Cruise several years ago while we were living in Alaska, and have since attended 3 sailings. It has been a fantastic experience for us being the person in our family who has a disability is my 57 year old brother in law with Down Syndrome.
The experience of going on a ship for him has been wonderful great. There are so many people and being with his peers makes him very happy. Even though he is older, there are always activities he can participate in.
Jorge and Pam Arnoldson who founded Buddy Cruise, their family and the crew who help them (they work year round) every year, think of everything for the inclusion of the participants no matter what age. Parents are always included each trip with seminars to help them cope with happenings in their lives.
I can't say enough about the Arnoldsons and the cruise. Anyone who has a child, sibling or any member of their family with a disability should attend a Buddy Cruise to have a fantastic memorable experience.

Client Served

Rating: 5

We cruise ALOT. But traveling with three special needs children is challenging and at times, in the past, isolating. UNTIL we met Buddy Cruise! From my first contact with Pam Arnoldson (director of BC), I felt like family! Not many understand an autistic child with sensory issue that cries and hides because the "lights were too bright" or a child with difficult to understand speech, or children with very complex medical issues, but Buddy Cruise understands and welcomed us. We travel with a suitcase of meds, IV poles and pumps- not a problem for BC.
In the past we may have "travelled " but never felt "included". With Buddy Cruise we were not only included- we had an instant sense of "belonging".
I loved advocating for our children on the Buddy Walk at Sea and showing folks that our kids are more alike than different.
We made great friends, formed strong bonds and enjoyed chatting with people who truely do understand.
The workshops were fabulous- so much to learn.. There was great food and fun and the time went by WAY to quickly. We are registered for BC 2916 and will book soon for 2017.
THIS is acceptance, equality, love and family fun.

Debbra K.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Buddy Cruise Inc.-Lithia, FL in three words… AN AMAZING ORGANIZATION! 2015 was the first year my sister and I stumbled across their website, BuddyCruise.org by way of search engines affiliated with Down syndrome. As a sister, caregiver, and a nervous nelly about travel all together I spent just a couple of hours discussing and pointing our family, friends, and my sister’s physicians to Buddycruise.org regarding this opportunity, their response was very positive and encouraging. From the time I contacted the assigned travel agency until the time we returned home, the entire Buddy Cruise organization was very prepared, responsive to all my questions, and made us feel part of a much bigger family. We were welcomed with so many hugs, included in a variety of activities, educated about additional resources, and made many forever friends. The Buddy Cruise organization has given us an opportunity to share our story and experiences on a day-to-day basis with people we work with and meet along life’s journey. Thank you Buddy Cruise Inc.! We’re excited to be seeing you and making more forever friends in 2016!

Maria141

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I had been looking at joining the Buddy Cruise for a few years and finally signed up last year to take my daughter. I was worried about going alone however we met so many wonderful people . It's like a family reunion. There was so much for my daughter to do. My biggest surprise was how everyone one the ship outside of our group was so curious about wanting to know more about us and joined in on our Buddy Walk. I am looking forward to bringing my daughter again .This is one cause worth supporting!!!

Previous Stories
1

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Buddy cruise is a life changing adventure, I looked into it for several years and finally booked a trip this last Oct (2015) I took my daughter who is 16 with me. There was so much to see and do but the best part for me was all the other travelers who were not part of our group coming up to us asking questions about the "Buddy Cruise "experience, asking about Down syndrome and many joined in our events. We meet so many other families and came away with some lasting ties and new friends. Pam and Jorge who started this foundation put there heart and soul into making sure everyone young and old has a great experience and leaves the ship with lots of great information.

Teresa

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Having been with Buddy Cruise since its inception in 2008, I have seen this organization grow. What started off as just a conference at sea has become like a yearly family reunion. I have met so many amazing people and it is truly a blessing to call them my friends.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been on every Buddy Cruise since the first sailing. At the beginning of each cruise you barely know anyone but by the end, it is like we are one big family. The cruise includes a variety of amazing speakers and between the entertainment that the cruise line has and what Buddy Cruise provides there is no way you will be bored. If you have the chance to join Buddy Cruise on a voyage one year, I definitely recommend it.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been to my first Buddy Cruise in 2015 and loved it! we went with four families and we all booked for the 2016 Buddy Cruise before leaving the ship. It's a great family to be part of!

Board Member

Rating: 5

Buddy cruise is a wonderful conference and social activity at sea! Educational, while having fun! Our family loved the cruise and can't wait until October!

Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 5

Love Buddy Cruise. The Founders of this organization truly are an inspiration to the rest of us. They give from their hearts.... and it shows. Buddy Cruise is a spectacular event. So much to learn, and so many folks to meet and share experiences with. Priceless!!!!

Review from Guidestar

Deborah141

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Buddy Cruise, Inc. is one of our favorite organizations in the world and we have participated in many. We have sailed on 5 or 6 Buddy Cruises and each year the experience just gets even better. One of our favorite things about Buddy Cruise is the 'family' that develops as a result of the camaraderie with other passengers and families. We also love the conference, the excursions and especially the dances. This is a professionally run organization that definitely fulfills its mission and purpose!

Client Served

Rating: 5

The best combination of family vacation, friendship and fun! Also a conference with infirmTion and events. They plan events with the cruise line and other passengers so that it's a safe and inclusive environment. I'll continue going on Buddy Cruise as long as the ship is sailing!!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Best experience of a life time. Since I have been there for 4 years I could not think of a better group to b a part of. Lifetime of memories. Best group of people ever. Team double ds rocking buddy cruise

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The only way to cruise is with 300+ of the most fun-loving people I have ever met on The Buddy Cruiser!!! Great people, great conference at sea with some amazing kids and families! I've been on 4 cruises and I'm so excited to go on my 5th, in 2016!!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Buddy cruise is a lifetime family that will always be by your side. it's an amazing journey and an educational experience you can't find anywhere else I went on my first cruise 4 years ago with out knowing anyone. I could write a book about my experience on bc with my son. it's like having a family from all over the world. Go once and your hooked. We are team double ds and we are buddy cruisers for life. Come join the family

1 Beverly29

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have been on four Buddy Cruises and each and everyone is a heart warming experience you just won't forget. Its a wonderful way to meet and make new friends from all over the country and people you look forward to seeing each and every year. Its like seeing family again and catching up on everything and making new memories.. Please take a Buddy Cruise once, and you will be hooked.. I hope you will..

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Each time we go on a buddy cruise we can't wait to sign up for the next one. Fun, exciting and we have made some great friends.

Derrick T.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Imagine being surrounded by people that know how to genuinely love better than any on earth. Oh, then you are in PARADISE too. Best week of my year. Coolest part is you don't have to have Down Syndrome or go with someone who does to be a part of this incredible group. A++

Volunteer

Rating: 5

From the first moment we joined the group, we were welcomed with open arms. It was educational, fun, refreshing, enlightening and so much more. We fell in love with the Buddy Cruise organization and the people. We now volunteer our time to help others experience that same wonderful feeling we had about the Buddy Cruise. One of the coolest effects to observe is how the other passengers interact and learn about our family members. It is amazing to see what a difference the week makes. We are definitely Buddy Cruisers for life!

Client Served

Rating: 5

1st time cruiser with the Buddy Cruise. We had the trip of our lifetime, filled with great people, great experiences and most of all fabulous memories. We hope to be able to enjoy it next year.

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Buddy Cruise is an amazing organization! I just love the level of excitement about every single family!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

My family and I have been on two Buddy Cruises thus far and find it to be a wonderful experience for the whole family. It is a great way to take a vacation since you are with other families who have a child with a intellectual or physical disability. There is something for everyone in the family to do and enjoy on board and at the excursions.
Since it is also a conference at sea you learn from the many topics listed and have great presenters from across the country that have their heart and soul into their presentation's for the family to learn something new. We have meet many great families and have great friendships that have developed as well. We also like how the other cruisers not part of the BC group make our families feel included on board and at the excursions. It was impressive to see over 600 passengers (~300 Buddy Cruisers & ~ 300 other passenger's) on the walking deck during to Buddy Walk (BC15) to spread the mission of diversity and inclusiveness. We tip our hat to what the Arnoldson Family has created in Buddy Cruise. We look forward to each Buddy Cruise we go on to see our friends from past cruises and the new friendships developed on future Buddy Cruises. Thank you for creating great memories for the whole family.

Patricia143

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

How does one even begin to write a review on Buddy Cruise? Co-founders, Pam & Jorge have given their heart and soul into this amazing organization. I have been on Buddy Cruise twice now and I cannot imagine not going on another one. The people I have met are my extended family. Pam & Jorge are humble, hard-working and they have created a community of people who are committed to their families and who cherish meeting other families. I highly recommend Buddy Cruise to anyone. God bless Pam & Jorge!!