Exclusive: 'Marcia Brady' stumps for less fortunate on Maui - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Exclusive: 'Marcia Brady' stumps for less fortunate on Maui

Maureen McCormick Maureen McCormick
Cassy Isagawa Cassy Isagawa
James Santiago James Santiago
Kendall Grove Kendall Grove
Mike McCormick Mike McCormick

By Duane Shimogawa - bio | email

WAILUKU, Maui (HawaiiNewsNow) - "Marcia, Marcia, Marcia."

You may remember that catchy line from the popular 70s sitcom, "The Brady Bunch."

Decades later, the actress who played Marcia -- Maureen McCormick -- is trying to get you to remember another phrase, "Best Buddies."

It's a non-profit that creates friendships for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and it's now in its 20th year. It has grown to nearly 1,500 college, high school and middle school campuses across the country, including Baldwin High School.

Along with her star power, McCormick brought hundreds of Maui teenagers a simple but powerful message.

"To me, it's what life is all about, love and friendships and being a buddy to someone who needs a buddy," McCormick told Hawaii News Now.

McCormick's passion for "Best Buddies" runs deep. She has a brother with a mental handicap, who was teased and tormented in school. It got so bad, she was ashamed of him.

But he changed her, as she took the time to be his "Best Buddy."

"He's not your friend, 'cuz you have a lots of money or because you can do something for him, all he cares about is that one-on-one relationship, being a friend," she said.

She's now a spokesperson for "Best Buddies" and a good friend of the founder, Anthony Kennedy Shriver.

"It showed me that they're no different than anyone of us, they're exactly the same," Baldwin High student and program participant Cassy Isagawa said.

"It taught me to make a difference in someone's life and it taught me to be a better person," Program participant James Santiago said.

Also at Tuesday's rally, a hometown celebrity: Baldwin High grad and UFC star Kendall Grove, who's trying to get more students involved in building lasting friendships.

"I always like to come back and try and give them a kick start to it, just 'cuz I learned late, I learned the hard way, if I could help at least one of these kids realize that, I'm stoked," Grove told Hawaii News Now.

With the message delivered, the seed is planted. Now it's time to start growing new relationships.

"When I get calls from parents saying, you have made a big difference in my son or daughter's life to expose them to things, they weren't ever able to do, that makes this all worthwhile," "Best Buddies" Hawaii State director and Maureen's brother Mike McCormick said.

And if you still haven't had enough of Marcia, Marcia, Marcia, you can catch her live on Sunrise this Friday.

For more on that and how to get involved with "Best Buddies," go to www.BestBuddies.org.

Copyright 2009 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

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