October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month! We invite you to check out some of the great ways to get involved and raise awareness.
National Buddy Walk® Program: Walk Together for Down Syndrome
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 Buddy Walk® Program has grown from 17 Walks in 1995 to over 250 Buddy Walks expected this year. Last year, over 295,000 people participated in a Buddy Walk® and over $11.75 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!
This year, NDSS is pleased to debut a new national Buddy Walk® public service announcement (PSA) featuring the Emmy-Award Winning Imagination Movers. We are also excited about the Buddy Walk® Spark, your one-stop-shop to share the Buddy Walk® PSA, learn more about the Buddy Walk®, how to start one and find a Walk near you! The Spark can be embedded in any website, blog or shared through a number of outlets. The geolocator tool allows users to automatically find the five Walks closest to them. It's never been easier to find a Buddy Walk® and spread the word!
2013 Times Square Video: Get in on the Action
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 NDSS Flagship Buddy Walk® in New York City on Saturday, September 21. 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 the 2013 Times Square Video
Watch the 2013 Event as it Happened Live!
My Great Story Campaign: Share Your Story
The My Great Story campaign is the largest NDSS public awareness initiative, with over 600 stories from 49 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!
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.
The most recent addition to the campaign is the My Great Story Video Project, which features 10 short videos based on submitted stories to the My Great Story campaign. Check out all 10 and share them in honor of Down Syndrome Awareness Month!
Share your story!
NDSS Your Way: Fundraise Your Way
NDSS Your Way invites you to compete, celebrate and create with us through our 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.
Resources: Educate Your Friends, Family and Community
Down Syndrome Awareness Month is the perfect opportunity to teach those around you about Down syndrome, and there are lots of quick and easy ways to do it! The NDSS YouTube channel has dozens of videos that cover our resources, to advocacy, to the Buddy Walk®, to the My Great Story Video Project and more. With something for everyone, choose a video that speaks to you and present it to your child's class, sports team, youth group or club, or share it with friends, family and colleagues.
NDSS is also proud to bring you the new "Get to Know Me" poster and lesson plan for elementary school-aged kids! Raise awareness and promote inclusion in your school with these new tools.
Raise awareness about Down syndrome and promote inclusion in your school with the new NDSS poster and accompanying lesson plan. - See more at: http://www.ndss.org/About-NDSS/Newsroom/Recent-News/#sthash.rWqVFHqC.dpuf
We recently republished our new and expectant parent guide and brochure, each with updated photos and resources. We invite you to take a look at the digital versions and order printed copies to distribute 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 also recommend sharing our Down Syndrome Facts, Myths & Truths and Preferred Language Guide, and we encourage you to peruse www.ndss.org and find a topic that interests you. For DVDs, printed materials and to discuss more ideas to educate your community about Down syndrome, contact NDSS Director of Educational Programming Vanessa Quick at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Social Media: Go Viral
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 throughout the month using the hashtag #DSAM2013. 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 a quick and easy way to share information with friends and family. If you've been to a Buddy Walk® this season, send a photo with a caption to email@example.com 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.
- Do you blog? Check out our Down Syndrome Awareness Month blogger guide for ideas and inspiration.
- Blog Hop: With a Little Moxie hosts a community blog hop on the 21st of every month which all are welcome to join. The badge for the hop is below:*
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- Other blogging and writing spots to check out are: Down syndrome Blogs , The International Alliance of Writers for Down syndrome, and The International Alliance of Writers for Down syndrome Facebook Group *
* NDSS understands blogging is a very personal medium and we aim to provide resources and places to find information and to help people connect, however we do not endorse any specific blog or opinions on those blogs. If there is a good reference you'd like to suggest to us please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Become an Advocate: Two Great Ways to Get Involved
If you're looking to become more involved with NDSS advocacy efforts, we invite you to learn more about the NDSS DS-Ambassador Program. DS-Ambassadors are volunteer advocates of all abilities committed to taking part in the democratic process and serving as liaisons between NDSS and their Congressional Delegations. The goal of the program is to build long-lasting relationships with US Senators and US Representatives to continually raise awareness, educate and advocate for public policy solutions that benefit the Down syndrome community at the federal level. Meet some of our DS-Ambassadors on our dedicated Pinterest board.
We also encourage anyone with an interest in the Down syndrome community to sign up to receive 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!
2014 Champion of Change Awards: Nominate an Advocate
In honor of Down Syndrome Awareness month, NDSS is seeking nominations for its 2014 Champion of Change Advocacy awards. 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. The awards will be presented at the next Buddy Walk® on Washington on February 26, 2014 in Washington, DC.
Learn more and nominate a deserving advocate.
NDSS Signature Clothing Line: Raise A-wear-ness
NDSS is proud to continue our partnership with Rhyme & Reason, the company behind the NDSS signature clothing line. The line now includes men's, women's and kids' designs, each featuring 3:21 on the front, symbolic of the third copy of chromosome 21 in trisomy 21, and the NDSS logo on the back or sleeve. For each item purchased, $5 is donated to NDSS. For all non-signature items on the site, 10% will be donated NDSS when you enter National Down Syndrome Society at checkout.
Check out the whole collection and purchase your 3:21 signature t-shirts.
BandAbout Bracelets: Customize Your Design
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! Your purchase helps NDSS promote the value, acceptance and inclusion of people with Down syndrome, and you'll be promoting the same message each time you wear it.
Learn more and customize your bracelet.
BandAbout bracelets are available to customize for the Buddy Walk® as well! Learn more and customize your Buddy Walk® bracelet.