October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month! As the national advocate for the value, acceptance and inclusion of people with Down syndrome, NDSS plans to highlight and showcase different ways for you to get involved in our organization, interact with our talented NDSS staff and support the Down syndrome community through awareness and advocacy.
Check out the NDSS #DSAM2014 Calendar for a list of ways to get involved on social media! Download the #DSAM2014 Calendar here.
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 305,000 people participated in a Buddy Walk® and over $12 million was raised to support both local and national programs. Last year, our first international Buddy Walk® in Turkey took place in Istanbul, along with Walks in Tokyo, Japan; Auckland, New Zealand; Freeport, Bahamas; Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago as well as across Canada. Most Buddy Walks take place in and around October in celebration of Down Syndrome Awareness Month.
Find a Buddy Walk® near you!
2014 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 20. This year, our third-party volunteers chose over 200 photos from over 2,000 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. Check out the video and share with your friends and family online!
Watch the 2014 Times Square Video
Unable to make it to Times Square? See the view from EarthCam!
My Great Story Campaign: Share Your Story
The My Great Story campaign is the largest NDSS public awareness initiative, with over 600 stories from all over the country 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.
Share your story today!
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! 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 email@example.com.
Social Media: Go Viral
NDSS is active on social media year-round and Down Syndrome Awareness Month is an especially good time to follow and share! Download our #DSAM2014 calendar highlighting some ways to get involved with this month! Follow NDSS and get involved in the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and You Tube. Don't forget to use #DSAM2014!
This month NDSS will be hosting four NDSS Coffee Talks on Twitter, one Twitter Party with Toys 'R' Us and two educational webinars.
NDSS Coffee Talk is a live tweeting event where you are able to engage with NDSS staff members and ask questions about the presented topic. @NDSS will post a "Welcome to NDSS Coffee Talk" image letting you know that the chat has begun. You will then tweet at NDSS or reply to an NDSS tweet using the assigned hashtag (#) each time you tweet.
NDSS Coffee Talk Schedule (all chats begin at 1:00pm EST)
- October 7, 2014- Chat with actor and NDSS Goodwill Ambassador, Chris Burke. #ChrisBChat
- October 14, 2014- Questions about Down syndrome? Ask NDSS Director of Educational Programming, Vanessa Quick. #ndssQnA
- October 21, 2014- Learn more about NDSS DS-Ambassadors from advocates in the group. #NDSSadvocacy
- October 28,2014- Questions about NDSS programming, policy or what the future has in store? Ask VP of Advocacy and Affliate Relations, Sara Weir. #NDSSchat
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. Want to become an NDSS DS-Ambassador? Contact NDSS Manager of Grassroots and Programming, Ginny Sessions, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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!
NDSS Charitybuzz Auction
The National Down Syndrome Society will be holding an online auction from Tuesday, October 7 through Tuesday, October 28 on Charitybuzz.Charitybuzz is a for-profit internet company that raises funds for nonprofit organizations through online charity auctions with celebrities and brands.
The items that will be auctioned off are the following:
- 7 nights accommodations at the St. James Club Morgan Bay , St. Lucia
- 7 nights accommodations at the St. James Club & Villas, Antigua
- 7 nights accommodations at The Club, Barbados
- 7 nights accommodations at the Verandah Resort & Spa, Antigua
- 5 nights accommodations at the Los Establos Boutique Inn, Panama
- Tasting menu for 4 people at the hot new Carrollton Market restaurant, New Orleans provided by Jason Goodenough, Chef/Owner
- Two complimentary tickets and a backstage tour for Roundabout Theatre Company’s production of The Real Thing at the American Airlines Theatre
- The Real Thing stars two-time Golden Globe nominee and Olivier nominee Ewan McGregor (Trainspotting, Moulin Rouge), Academy Award® nominee Maggie Gyllenhaal (White House Down, The Dark Knight), and Tony Award-winner Cynthia Nixon (Rabbit Hole, "Sex and the City").
Down Syndrome Awareness Straws
National Buddy Walk® Partner Aardvark Straws has created Down syndrome awareness straws as part of their "Straws For A Cause" Line. These straws will provide a unique, fun and easy fundraising and awareness opportunity for Buddy Walk® events and families across the world. These straws would make gifts for team captains or participants, incentive prizes, items to sell at your Buddy Walk® or even to use at picnics or to celebrate Down Syndrome Awareness in the classroom.
These paper straws are 100% made in the USA with US labor force including those with disabilities
Order straws here.
Buddy Walk Coffee
Buddy Walk® coffee sells for $14 a pound and Furnace Hills Coffee will be donating $6 per bag to the National Down Syndrome Society or the local Buddy Walk® organization. Sales through the link on the NDSS website will benefit the National Down Syndrome Society, while sales coming through a local Buddy Walk® organization's website will benefit that local Buddy Walk®.
Purchase your Buddy Walk® coffee here.