In 1974, the Hand-in-Hand Program was initiated as the centerpiece of the DFRC Blue-Gold All*Star Football Program, and it continues today, celebrating more than 40 years of the most unique programs in the nation. Delaware is one of the only states to have an All*Star program that pairs the high school participants - football players, cheerleaders, band members and ambassadors – with young people with intellectual disABILITIES. The success of the Hand-in-Hand Program has received great recognition and is a model for other fundraising and awareness-building programs throughout the United States.
Each year, the DFRC Hand-in-Hand Program pairs one or more senior participants with a Buddy, a child or young adult between the ages of 4 and 18, who has an intellectual disABILITY. The Blue-Gold All*Star Football Game Committee sponsors planned activities such as parties, picnics, and dances starting in February and continuing through Game Day in June. Participants are also encouraged to see their Buddies on their own – go to a movie, play a game, take a walk – just do things that friends naturally do together. The goal of these activities is help to build a bond between the Buddy and the high school participants and gain valuable lessons of diversity, awareness, and acceptance. The Hand-in-Hand Program is the heart of the Blue-Gold experience.