Medical professionals, self-advocates and parents of people with Down syndrome will have access to 14 innovative educational programs across the U.S. and Puerto Rico through $155,000 in Global Down Syndrome Educational Grants.
This year’s grants, varying from $6,000 to $10,000 and benefiting eight local Down syndrome organizations, are being announced today, International Day of Persons with Disabilities. In 2012, six organizations received grants from the program, which is a collaboration between the Global Down Syndrome Foundation (“Global”) and the National Down Syndrome Congress (“NDSC”).
“We are so pleased to be able to help local Down syndrome organizations and build capacity in our community,” said Michelle Sie Whitten, executive director of Global. “These organizations have great ideas that truly provide value to people with Down syndrome. They just need some encouragement and funds in order to deliver.”
Grant recipients detailed their ideas, budgets and goals for educational programs as part of their applications, which were reviewed by Global and NDSC for thoroughness, potential and sustainability. More than 50 applications have been submitted through the program.
“We are highly impressed by the quality and the quantity of the grant requests and are excited by how this year’s grants will help improve the lives of people with Down syndrome through greater awareness, better medical care and educational support,” said David Tolleson, executive director of NDSC. “These programs will improve access to technology, promote critical life and job skills, and teach the community about all the contributions that people with Down syndrome can and do make.”
The 2013 grant recipients are:
• Down Country (Missouri, Illinois, Iowa) — “I Learn / I Speak / I Care” is designed to give rural residents access to cutting-edge education and information through workshops, and provide technology to rural schools.
• Down Syndrome Association of Brazos Valley (Texas) — “Keys to Success” will create a computer training program, including a computer lab, to help students with Down syndrome acquire computer skills for everyday life, as well as job security and independence.
• Down Syndrome Association of Central Florida — “Global Down Syndrome Regional Seminar Series” will be a quarterly program for self-advocates, their families and medical professionals in various locations across central Florida.
• Down Syndrome Association of Central Oklahoma — Full-day workshops will serve as learning tools for parents who have children with Down syndrome in hopes of empowering them to advocate strongly for their children at school, in extra-curricular activities and in the workplace.
• Down Syndrome Association of Greater Richmond — “Learning Program” will provide programming for children with Down syndrome ages 4 to 7, supplementing their formal instruction in school with additional help in literacy and math.
• Down Syndrome Association of Memphis & the Mid-South — “Self Advocate Council Delegation” will help people with Down syndrome to have a voice and to speak up for themselves by preparing PowerPoints for public speaking, planning their own social events, and planning volunteer efforts and fundraising ideas.
• Puerto Rico Down Syndrome Foundation — “Increasing Access” will be an educational pilot program for adults with Down syndrome that involves developing a curriculum and helping at least 20 adults with reading, writing and math skills.
• Red River Valley Down Syndrome Society (Texas) — “After School / After Work Recreation Center” will build academic, emotional and social skills for people with intellectual disabilities and their typical peers through enrichment classes, workshops and peer interaction.
About the Global Down Syndrome Foundation
The Global Down Syndrome Foundation is a public nonprofit 501(c)(3) dedicated to significantly improving the lives of people with Down syndrome through research, medical care, education and advocacy. Formally established in 2009, the Foundation has the primary focus of supporting the Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome, the first academic home in the U.S. committed to research and medical care for people with the condition, and the Anna and John J. Sie Center for Down Syndrome at Children’s Hospital Colorado, the largest multi-disciplinary team in the U.S. providing medical care for people with Down syndrome. Fundraising and government advocacy that corrects the alarming disparity of national funding for people with Down syndrome is a major short-term goal. The Foundation organizes the Be Beautiful Be Yourself Fashion Show — the single-largest annual fundraiser benefiting people with Down syndrome. Programmatically, the Foundation organizes and funds many programs and conferences, including the Dare to Play Football and Cheer Camps, Global Down Syndrome Educational Series, and Dare to Play Soccer Camp. The Foundation is an inclusive organization without political or religious affiliation or intention.
About the National Down Syndrome Congress
Founded in 1973, the National Down Syndrome Congress is the oldest national organization for people with Down syndrome, their families, and the professionals who work with them. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit advocacy organization, the NDSC provides free technical support and information about issues related to Down syndrome throughout the lifespan, as well as on matters of public policy relating to disability rights. Best known for its annual convention – the largest of its type in the world – the National Down Syndrome Congress is a grassroots organization recognized for its “family” feel, its “We’re More Alike than Different” public awareness campaign, and its outreach to individuals from diverse backgrounds.