The leading human rights organization for all individuals with Down syndrome.

National Down Syndrome Society
8 E 41st Street, 8th Floor
New York New York 10017
800-221-4602
[email protected] 

NDSS Buddy Walk® on Washington Champion of Change Awards

Overview

As part of the Buddy Walk® on Washington, NDSS honors those in the Down syndrome community who work tirelessly throughout the year as self-advocates, advocates, leaders and changemakers in the area of public policy and advocacy for people with Down syndrome. A list of past winners is provided below.  

Nominations for 2017

Nominations are accepted in these categories:

  • A self-advocate
  • An individual leader (this could be an affiliate leader, parent/family member, professional, expert, etc.)
  • An NDSS DS-AMBASSADOR®
  • A Buddy Walk® group or organization that incorporates advocacy into its event
  • A Down syndrome advocacy group or organization
  • A state advocacy network (New category for 2017!) 

If you wish to nominate an individual and/or group in one of the above categories, please send a brief nomination letter to Julie Ryan-Silva, Advocacy & Public Policy Associate, at [email protected]. The letter should contain the following information:

  • Your name, e-mail address and telephone number
  • Nominee’s e-mail address and mailing address
  • Brief summary explaining why this person/organization should receive the award

Nominations for the 2017 awards were due October 31, 2016, and the winners were announced on November 17, 2016. The awards will be presented during the Buddy Walk® on Washington on April 4-5, 2017. 

For more information, please contact Julie Ryan-Silva, Advocacy & Public Policy Associate, at [email protected]

Recipients

Recipients of Champion of Change Awards are listed below. 

2017

Stephen Beck Jr. Advocate of the Year
Jointly awarded to:
Ziky Ababiya, Office of Rep. Van Hollen (D-MD)
Jennifer Debes-Bang, Office of Rep. Crenshaw (R-FL)
Emily Erb, Office of Rep. Sessions (R-TX)
Natasha Hickman, Office of Sen. Burr (R-NC)
Megan Perez, Office of Rep. McMorris Rodgers (R-WA)
Livia Shmavonian, Office of Sen. Casey (D-PA)

NDSS DS-AMBASSADOR® of the Year
Maureen Gallagher, Massachusetts
Sergio Zarate, Texas

NDSS Self-Advocate of the Year
Jacob Gehringer, Nebraska
Megan McCormick, Kentucky

NDSS Organization of the Year
Growth Through Opportunity (GTO) Program, Virginia

NDSS Buddy Walk® of the Year
Beaumont Buddy Walk®, Texas

NDSS State Advocacy Network of the Year
California Down Syndrome Advocacy Coalition

2016

Stephen Beck Jr. Advocate of the Year
Stuart Spielman, Autism Speaks
Amy Van Bergen, Florida

NDSS DS-AMBASSADOR® of the Year
Kelly Kulzer-Reyes, California
Robbin Thomas Lyons, Wisconsin 

Self-Advocate of the Year
Elijah Mayfield, Missouri
Kayla McKeon, New York 

Buddy Walk® of the Year
Boardwalk Buddy Walk®, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

Organization of the Year
United States Department of the Treasury

Ethan Saylor Memorial Scholarship Recipient
Joey Agostino

Congressional Champions of Change

In addition to those listed above, the following Members of Congress were honored at the 2016 Buddy Walk® on Washington as NDSS Congressional Champions of Change for their efforts in advancing policies that create positive change for people with Down syndrome.

Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC)
Representative Brad Ashford (D-NE)
Representative Julia Brownley (D-CA)
Representative Cheri Bustos (D-IL)
Representative Tony Cárdenas (D-CA)
Representative John Carney Jr. (D-DE)
Representative Steve Chabot (R-OH)
Representative Barbara Comstock (R-VA)
Representative Ander Crenshaw (R-FL)
Representative John Delaney (D-MD)
Representative Trent Franks (R-AZ)
Representative John Katko (R-NY)
Representative Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO)
Representative Sean Maloney (D-NY)
Representative Kevin McCarthy (R-CA)
Representative James McGovern (D-MA)
Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA)
Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI)
Representative Pete Sessions (R-TX)
Representative
Adam Smith (D-WA)
Representative
Glenn "GT" Thompson (R-PA)
Representative
Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)
Representative
Kevin Yoder (R-KS)
Senator
Richard Burr (R-NC)
Senator
Robert "Bob" Casey Jr. (D-PA)
Senator
Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
Senator
Mitch McConnell Jr. (R-KY)
Senator
Jerry Moran (R-KS)
Senator
Chuck Schumer (D-NY)
Senator
Harry Reid (D-NV)

2015

Stephen Beck Jr. Advocate of the Year
Charles H. Gerhardt, III, Ohio

NDSS DS-AMBASSADOR® of the Year
Sherri Harnisch, Nebraska
Lynn Braker, Kentucky
 
Self-Advocate of the Year
Garrett Holeve, Florida
Ashley DeRamus, Alabama
 
Buddy Walk® of the Year
Down Syndrome Association of South Texas (San Antonio, Tx)

Organization of the Year
Change.org
Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA)

2014

Advocate of the Year
Patti Saylor, Maryland
Gerard Jimenez, Texas
Vince Randazzo, Virginia

NDSS DS-AMBASSADOR® of the Year
Stef Caldwell, West Virginia
Brad Pitzele, California
 
Self-Advocate of the Year
David Egan, Virginia
Angie Cain, Indiana
 
Buddy Walk® of the Year
Up with Downs/Fargo, North Dakota
 
Organization of the Year
Think College

2013

Nikki Davis
Down Syndrome Association of Jacksonville
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human 
and Human Development (NICHD)
Daniel Goodrow
Richard Kosmalski
Connor Robert Long
Jawanda Barnett Mast
Richard Peck

2012

Craig Blackburn
Bridget Brown
Jenn Sikora
D.A.D.S. National
Down Syndrome Association Greater Cincinnati (DSAGC) Buddy Walk®

2011

Donald Bailey
Sarah Brachman
Mary McHale
Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress (MDSC)

2010

John Anton
Steve Beck
Doris Erhart
Alexander Reid
Down Syndrome Indiana GAC
Maryland Down Syndrome Advocacy Coalition (MDAC)

Page last updated: January 9, 2017

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