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Policy & Advocacy Newsline ~ July 2021

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Convention Recap

Thank you to everyone who attended the 49th Annual NDSC Convention! The Policy Team was busy with our Annual Advocacy Training Boot Camp as well as two other workshop sessions:

What’s Happening in D.C. & What You Can Do, was presented by  Stephanie Smith Lee and  Ricki Sabia.  Stephanie Smith Lee, Debra Hart of Think College, Destination Dawgs graduate Marina Martinez and her Mother Zoila Martinez presented the session  Introduction to Inclusive Higher Education

The Advocacy Training Boot Camp had over 350 live participants from all over the country! Topics included: Untangling the Legislative Process, Engaging with Elected Officials, A One-Pager Demo, Mock Legislator Meeting, Social Media Tips, and more!

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NDSC E-NEWS Post Convention

Mission Moment

with Executive Director, David Tolleson

David Tolleson, NDSC Executive DirectorAnd just like that, half the year is gone. But what a way to finish out the second quarter – this year’s NDSC Virtual Convention was outstanding! This was the world’s largest online presentation of workshops, Deep Dives, social engagement, and interaction for self-advocates, their families, and the professionals who work with them. If you missed it, you missed a lot. Fortunately, if you are a registered attendee, you still have nearly 3 months to watch recordings at your leisure.

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Policy & Advocacy Newsline ~ June 2021

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Kick-off the NDSC Convention with the 4th Annual Advocacy Training Boot CampThe NDSC 49th Annual Convention will kick off with the 4th NDSC Advocacy Training Boot Camp.  Whether you are a beginner, intermediate, or advanced in your advocacy journey, this three-hour boot camp will give you the tools you need to be an effective advocate. Designed to be an advocacy mini-course with a focus on legislative advocacy, participants will leave energized and with new tools for their advocacy toolbox.  The virtual NDSC Advocacy Training Boot Camp is included with all General Conference and Youth & Adults Conference registrations, with no additional registration or RSVP required.  The boot camp will feature self-advocates who are making a difference through their personal advocacy efforts, sibling advocates, parent advocates, a State Representative, a State Senator, and the expert NDSC Policy & Advocacy Team.

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NDSC E-News ~ May 2021

Mission Moment

David Tolleson, NDSC Executive Directorwith Executive Director David Tolleson

Now is the time to take a moment and register for next month’s NDSC Virtual Convention! We are presenting a carefully curated selection of workshop and Deep Dive sessions and an unparalleled collection of nationally and internationally known speakers throughout a robust six days of programming for the whole family.

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Important Announcement 5.21.2021

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Dear Friends of the National Down Syndrome Congress:

Margaret Mead wrote, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.  Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”  For almost 20 years, David Tolleson has served honorably and unwaveringly as the Executive Director of the National Down Syndrome Congress (NDSC).  I am writing to inform you that David’s last day of service with the organization will be October 31, 2021. We want to thank David for the gifts of his time, talent, and passion to the NDSC and to the disability community. David will be missed at the NDSC and we extend our very best wishes to him.    

The Board of Directors has initiated a search process to find the next Executive Director for the NDSC. The Search will begin June 1, and we invite you to follow the process at www.ndsccenter.org and/or NDSC social media for more details.  The Executive Search Firm of Spencer Stuart is working to coordinate and find our new Executive Director. It is the goal of the NDSC to have our new Executive Director in place by late fall. The board and staff remain committed to mission excellence and increasing our impacts on the communities, organizations, and individuals we serve.

Thank you so much for your unending support of the mission of the NDSC. 

Shauntel Neal-Howe, President
National Down Syndrome Congress
Board of Directors

Policy & Advocacy Newsline ~ May 2021

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NDSC 4th Advocacy Training Boot Camp Included with NDSC Convention Registration

This NDSC 49th Annual Convention will again include the NDSC Advocacy Training Boot Camp.  This 3-hour session is designed to be an advocacy mini-course with a focus on legislative advocacy. Whether you are a beginner to advocacy or are an experienced advocate, you will walk away with something new and be energized after this session.

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NDSC E-News ~ April 2021

Mission Moment 
with Executive Director David Tolleson

David Tolleson, NDSC Executive DirectorNow more than ever, it’s important that individuals with Down syndrome, their family members, and the educators and medical professionals who work with them have access to the best, most up-to-date information on a wide variety of issues impacting life with Down syndrome. Whether it’s early intervention, virtual and in-person classroom strategies, post-secondary education, transition to adulthood, independent living, employment, mental health issues, or something else, NDSC’s Annual Convention remains the biggest, best, and most important source of accurate, up-to-date information in our community. This year’s conference is no different. Because it’s virtual, you’ll be able to attend “live” or watch later at a time that works for you. And, unlike an in-person event, you don’t have to pick between workshops – you can watch them all. If you have a young adult, you’ll both want to attend our College Fair, co-sponsored by Think College. As with all exhibitors, you’ll be able to have your questions asked and answered through real-time video chats. You can also enjoy social interactions to whet your appetite for next year’s in-person Convention in New Orleans.

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Policy & Advocacy Newsline ~ April 2021

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Increased COVID-19 Vaccine Access for People with Disabilities

On March 29, the Administration for Community Living (ACL) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) announced $100 million in state and local grants to facilitate access to COVID-19 vaccines for people with disabilities. This funding will be used to deal with the significant barriers to vaccination that people with disabilities are facing and will be used to provide assistance with scheduling vaccination appointments, direct support services to attend these appointments, education about the importance of receiving the vaccine, transportation to vaccination sites, and connecting people with disabilities to in-home vaccination options, and a national hotline. For vaccine resources relating to people with disabilities, see ACL’s COVID webpages as well as the Center for Dignity in Healthcare for People with Disabilities.

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NDSC E-News ~ March 2021

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Mission Moment 
with Executive Director David Tolleson

David Tolleson, NDSC Executive DirectorThis month marks a year since we entered lockdown. While it’s too early to declare victory over the virus, as safe, effective vaccines are distributed, brighter days are in sight. Looking back, I’m proud of our work over the last year. NDSC’s Programs and Convention staff produced high-quality virtual educational and social programming in English and Spanish. We have hosted three Town Hall meetings on race relations in our community, most recently to discuss how both NDSC and our local and regional affiliates can do a better job of engaging families who haven’t traditionally felt welcome in our organizations.

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Policy & Advocacy Newsline ~ March 2021

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Update on COVID-19 Relief Legislation

Great news! Congress passed, and President Biden has signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, a new $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package that finally addresses the major priorities of the disability community. Thank you for your calls, tweets, and emails; for responding to our Action Alerts, sharing your personal stories, and all other actions taken over the past year to educate lawmakers about the devastating effect that the pandemic has had on people with disabilities.  Your work was imperative for the inclusion of our concerns in COVID-19 relief funding and supports. Advocacy works!

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