October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month! We invite you to check out so= me of=20 the great ways to get involved and raise awareness.
National Buddy Walk=C2=AE Program: Walk Together for Down Syndrom= e
NDSS founded the Buddy Walk=C2=AE in 1995 to spread our missi= on of=20 promoting the value, acceptance and inclusion of people with Down syndrome= at=20 the local level. The National Buddy Walk=C2=AE Program has grown from 17 W= alks in=20 1995 to over 250 Buddy Walks expected this year. Last year, over 295,000 p= eople=20 participated in a Buddy Walk=C2=AE and over $11.75 million was raised to s= upport both=20 local and national programs. Most Buddy Walks take place in and around Oct= ober=20 in celebration of Down Syndrome Awareness Month.
This year, NDSS is pleased to debut a new national Buddy Walk=C2=AE public service announcement (PSA= ) featuring the Emmy-Award Winning Imagination= Movers.=20 We are also excited about the Buddy Walk=C2=AE Spark, your=20 one-stop-shop to share the Buddy Walk=C2=AE PSA, learn more about the Budd= y Walk=C2=AE,=20 how to start one and find a Walk near you! The Spark can be embedded in an= y=20 website, blog or shared through a number of outlets. The geolocator tool a= llows=20 users to automatically find the five Walks closest to them. It's never bee= n=20 easier to find a Buddy Walk=C2=AE 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 t= hat=20 people with Down syndrome bring to their communities through a special vid= eo=20 presentation on a jumbo screen in the heart of the Times=20 Square.
The Times Square Video presentation will kick off Down Syndrome Awarene= ss=20 Month on the morning of the NDSS Flagship Buddy Walk=C2=AE in New York City on Saturday, September 21.=20 This year, our third-party volunteers chose over 200 photos from ove= r=20 1,000 submissions for the Times Square Video. The featured photogra= phs=20 highlight children, teens and adults with Down syndrome working, playing a= nd=20 learning alongside friends and family. These collective images promote=20 acceptance and inclusion, which is the foundation of NDSS and the National= Buddy=20 Walk=C2=AE Program.
My Great Story Campaign: Share Your Story
The My=20 Great Story campaign is the largest NDSS public awareness initiative, = with=20 over 600 stories from 49 states in the collection. The goal of the campaig= n is=20 to ignite a new way of thinking about people with Down syndrome by sharing= =20 stories written by and about them. The stories are submitted by self-advoc= ates,=20 their family members, friends, teachers, coworkers, coaches and more - any= one=20 who has a story to share that highlights the abilities and accomplishments= of=20 someone with Down syndrome is encouraged to share it!
The My Great Story campaign also has voting and commenting features, so share your sto= ry and=20 spread the word! The top voted story each month wins the My Gr= eat Story=20 of the Month Contest.
The most recent addition to the campaign is the My Gre= at Story=20 Video Project, which features 10 short videos based on submitted stori= es to=20 the My Great Story campaign. Check out all 10 and share them in honor of D= own=20 Syndrome Awareness Month!
NDSS Your Way: Fundraise Your Way
NDSS Your Way invites you to compete, celebrate and create wi= th us=20 through our online fundraising program that is geared towards independent= =20 fundraisers interested in raising money on behalf of NDSS. Down Syndrome=20 Awareness Month is a great time to start! Through Team NDSS, NDSS Celebrat= ions=20 or NDSS New Ideas we invite you to have a bake sale, grow a mustache, run = a=20 marathon, throw a party, organize a bowl-a-thon - however you do it, do it= for=20 NDSS and do it Your Way!
Resources: Educate Your Friends, Family and Community
Down Syndrome Awareness Month is the perfect opportunity to teach those= =20 around you about Down syndrome, and there are lots of quick and easy ways = to do=20 it! The NDSS Yo= uTube=20 channel has dozens of videos that cover our resources, to advocacy, to= the=20 Buddy Walk=C2=AE, to the My Great Story Video Project and more. With= something=20 for everyone, choose a video that speaks to you and present it=20 to your child's class, sports team, youth group or club, or sh= are it=20 with friends, family and colleagues.
NDSS is also proud to bring you the new "Get to Know Me" poster and lesson plan for elementary= =20 school-aged kids! Raise awareness and promote inclusion in your school wit= h=20 these new tools.
We recently republished our new and expectant parent guide and brochure, each with updated photos and resources. We i= nvite=20 you to take a look at the digital versions and order printed copies to distribute to teachers and administrators or ask if the lib= rarian=20 would like materials for a bulletin board; you could take information to y= our=20 local library, community center, place of worship, doctor's office, workpl= ace,=20 gym, coffee shop - anywhere that you think might be open to displaying or= =20 distributing information about Down syndrome!
We also recommend sharing our <= /SPAN>Down Syndr= ome=20 Facts, Myths &=20 Truths and Prefe= rred=20 Language Guide, and we encourage you to peruse http://www.ndss.org/ and find a topic that interests=20 you. For DVDs, printed mate= rials=20 and to discuss more ideas to educate your community about Down syndrome, c= ontact=20 NDSS Director of Educational=20 Programming Vanessa Quick=20 at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Social Media: Go Viral
NDSS is active on several social media outlets year-round, and Down Syn= drome=20 Awareness Month is an especially good time to follow and share! In additio= n to=20 our regular social media activity, here are some bright spots to keep an e= ye on=20 this month:
- On Twitter, @NDS= S will=20 be tweeting throughout the month using the hashtag #DSAM2013. Follow alo= ng,=20 retweet and use the hashtag in your own tweets to join the conversation = this=20 October.
- On Pintere= st,=20 check out our Down Syndrome Facts & Figures board and other boards f= or a=20 quick and easy way to share information with friends and family. If you'= ve=20 been to a Buddy Walk=C2=AE this season, send a photo with a= caption to=20 email@example.com for a cha= nce to=20 be added to the Buddy Walk=C2=AE board.
- Visit the NDSS Facebook page and YouTube channel for updates and news throughout the= =20 month.
- Do you blog? Check out our Down Syndrome Awareness Month blogger guide for ideas and inspiration. <= /UL>
Become an Advocate: Two Great Ways to Get Involved
If you're looking to become more involved with NDSS advocacy efforts, w= e=20 invite you to learn more about the NDSS DS-Ambassador Program. DS-Ambassadors are vo= lunteer=20 advocates of all abilities committed to taking part in the democratic proc= ess=20 and serving as liaisons between NDSS and their Congressional Delegations.&= nbsp;=20 The goal of the program is to build long-lasting relationships with US Sen= ators=20 and US Representatives to continually raise awareness, educate and advocat= e for=20 public policy solutions that benefit the Down syndrome community at the fe= deral=20 level. Meet some of our DS-Ambassadors on our dedicated Pinterest board.
We also encourage anyone with an interest in the Down syndrome communit= y=20 to sign up to receive NDSS email advocacy alerts. We= 'll let=20 you know who to contact and when in order to positively impact Down syndro= me=20 legislative activities. A quick phone call or submitting a form email= is=20 usually all it takes to affect positive changes for people with Down=20 syndrome!
2014 Champion of Change Awards: Nominate an Advocate
In honor of Down Syndrome Awareness month, NDSS i= s seeking=20 nominations for its 2014 Champion of Change Advocacy awards. As part of ou= r=20 annual Buddy Walk=C2=AE on Washington, we=20 honor those in the Down syndrome community that work tirelessly throughout= the=20 year as advocates, leaders, and change makers in the area of advocacy for = people=20 with Down syndrome. The awards will be presented at the next Buddy Walk=C2= =AE on=20 Washington on February 26, 2014 in Washington, DC.
NDSS Signature Clothing Line: Raise A-wear-ness
NDSS is proud = to continue=20 our partnership with Rhyme & Reason, the company behind the NDSS signa= ture=20 clothing line. The line now includes men's, women's and kids' design= s,=20 each featuring 3:21 = on the=20 front, symbolic of the third copy of chromosome 21 in trisomy 21, and the NDSS logo on the back or= =20 sleeve. For each item purch= ased, $5=20 is donated to NDSS. For all non-signature items on the site, 10% will be d= onated=20 NDSS when you enter National Down Syndrome Society at checkout.
NDSS is proud to announce our newest = t-shirt=20 line exclusively for kids by TeeSpring. Designed b= y=20 author, photographer and blogger Kelle Hampton, this design reads "teach me to soar and= I=20 will." It is available for a limited time only, through September=20 30! The shirts are available in size six months to youth l= arge,=20 and for each shirt purchased, at least $5 will be donated to NDSS. Th= e=20 amount increases as more shirts are sold, so spread the word and increase = your=20 donation!
BandAbout Bracelets: Customize Your Design
Show your support for people with Down syndrome b= y creating=20 a custom bracelet that includes personal photos and text. Your bracelet wi= ll=20 honor and celebrate a person in your life who has Down syndrome and will=20 represent why this cause is a priority to you. Each bracelet is $5. NDSS w= ill=20 receive a donation of $2 for each purchase.
Wear your bracelet during Down Syndrome Awareness Month and throughout = the=20 year! Your purchase helps NDSS promote the value, acceptance and inclusion= of=20 people with Down syndrome, and you'll be promoting the same message each t= ime=20 you wear it.
customize your bracelet.
BandAbout bracelets are available to custo= mize=20 for the Buddy Walk=C2=AE as well! Learn mor= e and=20 customize your Buddy Walk=C2=AE bracelet.