October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month! We invite you to check out some of the great ways to get involved and raise awareness.
It's Buddy Walk® Season
NDSS founded the Buddy Walk® in 1995 to spread our mission of promoting the value, acceptance and inclusion of people with Down syndrome at the local level. The national program has grown from 17 Walks in 1995 to over 250 Buddy Walks expected this year. Last year, over 285,000 people participated in a Buddy Walk and over $11 million was raised to support both local and national programs. Most Buddy Walks take place in and around October in celebration of Down Syndrome Awareness Month.
Find a Buddy Walk near you!
Whether or not you can make it to a Buddy Walk, there are several ways to spread the word:
- Watch the National Buddy Walk public service announcement (PSA) and share it with friends and family to encourage them to participate in their local Buddy Walks.
- See a movie! NDSS is pleased that National Buddy Walk Partner Regal Entertainment Group will be airing the Buddy Walk PSA at all of their theaters before movies from October 1 -14. Find a Regal theater near you to view the PSA during this time.
- The Emmy-award winning Imagination Movers are the newest National Buddy Walk Partner and we are thrilled that they have participated in a new Buddy Walk video. Check out the 60-second and 30-second versions and share them with your friends and family!
2012 Times Square Video
Every year, NDSS reminds the world in a big way about the gifts that people with Down syndrome bring to their communities through a special video presentation on a jumbo screen in the heart of the Times Square.
The Times Square Video presentation kicked off Down Syndrome Awareness Month on the morning of the New York City Buddy Walk. This year, our third-party volunteers chose over 200 photos from over 1,000 submissions for the Times Square Video. The featured photographs highlight children, teens and adults with Down syndrome working, playing and learning alongside friends and family. These collective images promote acceptance and inclusion, which is the foundation of NDSS and the National Buddy Walk Program.
Watch and share the 2012 Times Square Video
Take home a piece of the action: order a copy of the 2012 Times Square Video.
Share Your Great Story
The My Great Story campaign is the largest NDSS public awareness initiative, with over 450 stories from 48 states in the collection. The goal of the campaign is to ignite a new way of thinking about people with Down syndrome by sharing stories written by and about them. The stories are submitted by self-advocates, their family members, friends, teachers, coworkers, coaches and more - anyone who has a story to share that highlights the abilities and accomplishments of someone with Down syndrome is encouraged to share it! In honor of Down Syndrome Awareness Month, a new section has been added to the collection. All are invited to share their celebration stories there!
The My Great Story campaign also has voting and commenting features, so share your story and spread the word! The top voted story each month wins the My Great Story of the Month Contest.
Share your story!
Attend an Event
There are over 350 NDSS affiliates nationwide, many of which have local plans for Down Syndrome Awareness Month! Find your local group and contact them to learn about any events in your area.
If you'll be in the New York area on Saturday, October 20 we'd love to see you at our Flagship Down Syndrome Awareness Month event, Down Syndrome Awareness Night at the New York Red Bull Arena. The event will include a private ceremony for NDSS guests, an interactive fun zone and the soccer match against Sporting Kansas City. Learn more and purchase tickets.
NDSS Your Way
NDSS Your Way invites you to compete, celebrate and create with us through our new online fundraising program that is geared towards independent fundraisers interested in raising money on behalf of NDSS. Down Syndrome Awareness Month is a great time to start! Through Team NDSS, NDSS Celebrations or NDSS New Ideas we invite you to have a bake sale, grow a mustache, run a marathon, throw a party, organize a bowl-a-thon - however you do it, do it for NDSS and do it Your Way!
Learn more about NDSS Your Way and start your campaign.
Check out the NDSS Your Way Pinterest board for inspiration.
Down Syndrome Awareness Month is the perfect opportunity to teach people who wouldn't otherwise know about Down syndrome a thing or two – and there is so much you can do! You could give a presentation and show a video about Down syndrome to your child's class, sports team, youth group or club; you could hand out information to teachers and administrators or ask if the librarian would like materials for a bulletin board; you could take information to your local library, community center, place of worship, doctor's office, workplace, gym, coffee shop - anywhere that you think might be open to displaying or distributing information about Down syndrome.
We encourage you to peruse www.ndss.org and find a topic that interests you. We recommend sharing our Down Syndrome Facts, Myths & Truths and Preferred Language Guide. For printed materials and to discuss more ideas on how you can educate your community about Down syndrome, contact NDSS Manager of Education & Programs Vanessa Quick at 800-221-4602 or [email protected].
NDSS is active on several social media outlets year-round, and Down Syndrome Awareness Month is an especially good time to follow and share! In addition to our regular social media activity, here are some bright spots to keep an eye on this month:
- On Twitter, @NDSS will be tweeting every day using the hashtag #DSAM2012. Follow along, retweet and use the hashtag in your own tweets to join the conversation this October.
- On Pinterest, check out our Down Syndrome Facts & Figures board and other boards for relevant information to share with friends and family. If you've been to a Buddy Walk this season, send a photo with a caption to [email protected] for a chance to be added to the Buddy Walk board.
- Visit the NDSS Facebook page and YouTube channel for updates and news throughout the month.
- If you blog, we'd love to send you our Down Syndrome Awareness Month blogger guide! Please email your blog title and URL to NDSS Communications & Social Media Manager Jordana Stern at [email protected]. NDSS has teamed up with some great blogging initiatives this October. The 6th Annual 31 for 21 Challenge invites bloggers to write a post a day in honor of Down Syndrome Awareness Month, and the T21 Writer's Alliance is hosting a blog hop each weekend in October for bloggers to share their favorite related posts.
Nominate an Advocate
In honor of Down Syndrome Awareness month, NDSS is seeking nominations for its 2013 Champion of Change Advocacy awards. Each year, as part of our annual Buddy Walk® on Washington, we honor those in the Down syndrome community that work tirelessly throughout the year as advocates, leaders, and change makers in the area of advocacy for people with Down syndrome.
Learn more and nominate your favorite advocate.
We also encourage anyone with an interest in the Down syndrome community to sign up for NDSS email advocacy alerts. We'll let you know who to contact and when in order to positively impact Down syndrome legislative activities. A quick phone call or submitting a form email is usually all it takes to affect positive changes for people with Down syndrome!
3:21 T-Shirts - Expanded Line
NDSS is proud to partner with Rhyme & Reason, a company that believes that in an ideal world a percentage of everything we purchase would be donated to the charity of our choice. Earlier this year, Rhyme & Reason created a signature collection of men's, women's and kids' t-shirts featuring 3:21 on the front, symbolic of the third copy of chromosome 21 in trisomy 21, and the NDSS logo on the back.
We're excited to announce that by popular request we have expanded the yellow kids' design to adult sizes! Kids's shirts are currently available in 2T, 3T and 4T, with larger sizes coming soon. Adult shirts are $25 each and kids' shirts are $15 each. For each signature shirt purchased, $5 will be donated to NDSS.
Learn more and purchase your 3:21 signature t-shirts.
Show your support for people with Down syndrome by creating a custom bracelet that includes personal photos and text. Your bracelet will honor and celebrate a person in your life who has Down syndrome and will represent why this cause is a priority to you. Each bracelet is $5. NDSS will receive a donation of $2 for each purchase.
Wear your bracelet during Down Syndrome Awareness Month and throughout the year, and share your story while wearing it. Your purchase also helps NDSS promote the value, acceptance and inclusion of people with Down syndrome.
Learn more and customize your bracelet.