I flew down to Washington DC last week to attend a meeting at the SHRM headquarters with Kandi Pickard.  The meeting was about the CEO commission and what we can do to expand on our partnership and take it to the next steps.

NDSS was hosting an event called C21 that evening. C21 is a pop-up restaurant where individuals like me who have Down syndrome can show their unique talents. We cover all aspects of the restaurant. We work as bartenders, servers, hosts and doormen. We were in uniform in our black and white and orange bowties and those who were serving that night were assigned to tables. The bartenders were at their post getting ready and we were then trained. All self-advocates had to be trained to serve, bar-tend, and host. The hosts were ready at the stand to escort our guests into the main room for the main event. I was asked to mingle with the quests during cocktail hour. Then I was asked to be a hostess and seat people to their assigned tables for dinner and for the program. I also waited on two tables. Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers said a few words. Kandi, Charlotte and I also spoke about what we are working on and how to end law syndrome. Since forming a partnership with Voya the decorations were very festive in orange and that is why we wore the orange bow ties which was great with me because I am from Syracuse, the home of the orange!


As we closed out the night, we thanked everyone for coming, took some last-minute pictures and cleaned up. On the way out of the door the guests received goodie bags of gratitude. The bags held some materials that self-advocates made, or goodies from entrepreneurs that also happen to have Down syndrome.


After cleaning up the staff met to talk over the success of this C21 event and what we can do to improve the next one. We always try to always make them bigger and better for future. I felt like everyone had a blast. I hope we enlightened more people about our capabilities. That’s what it’s all about. What a night!