MIAMI (WSVN) - Hundreds of people woke up early this weekend to spend a day with some very special friends at the annual Best Friends Friendship Walk in downtown Miami.

The excitement took over Maurice A. Ferré Park near 10th Street and Biscayne Boulevard, Saturday morning.

“This walk is all about friendship, helping us make jobs in the community and identify leadership opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” said David Quilleon, senior vice president of global mission, state development and operations of Best Buddies International.

Because of Best Buddies, James Walker has a job he loves.

“I work at Top Golf, off Miami Gardens,” he said.

Meeting new people and inclusion are what Best Buddies is all about. The nonprofit organization is the largest of its kind in the world, and it changes the lives of everyone involved.

Like Best Buddies member Connor Oberochda, who made new friends on Saturday.

“I’m hanging out with the kids because they show me inspiration, they keep me motivated to just have fun and enjoy life,” he said.

Meanwhile, Anthony Richards, vice president of operations at Role Media Partners, said the event is an opportunity to hire talented people.

“It creates such a great culture within the company. It creates a positive energy and environment,” he said.

7News anchor Craig Stevens posed with the rest of Team 7 who took part in the walk alongside Best Buddy Gabriel. WSVN has been a proud longtime sponsor of Best Buddies.

Stevens emceed the fun-filled event that followed the walk, which was filled with music, dancing and lots of great people.

Miami-Dade Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho also attended the walk. He said an inclusive community is a better community.

“Having them participate in every kind of activity in [not just] school, but also in the workplace, is key to who we are,” he said.

The 2018 Friendship Walk raised more than $500,000. If you would like to contribute, click here.

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