NDSC has been linked to Down Syndrome Awareness Month literally since the day it was established. In 1984, when President Reagan signed the proclamation creating Down Syndrome Awareness Month, NDSC’s Executive Director and President were in the Oval Office. Both before and since, NDSC has worked to educate the general public, healthcare professionals, educators, and elected officials about what it really means to have Down syndrome in contemporary America.
Recently, our staff traveled to New Orleans to begin preparations for next year’s NDSC Convention, June 25-28. Hosted in one of America’s most unique locations, this year’s event looks to be one of our most memorable “family reunions” with a New Orleans second line parade; free admission to The Aquarium of the Americas, Audubon Zoo, and the Insectarium for all children ages 2-12, with half-price admission for guests age 13 and over; and, free admission to New Orleans City Park and Storyland Theme Park, with unlimited ride wristbands for the first 3,000 guests!
Mission Moment With NDSC Executive Director, David Tolleson
For most of the country, August means back to school. Because of that, it’s natural to focus on why inclusion is so important. Regardless of how many chromosomes we have, we all do better when we’re included – in school, work, faith communities, and social settings. And it’s not just individuals who benefit. Our society becomes stronger when everyone is included, when everyone can contribute based on their gifts, and when we can all celebrate both our commonalities and differences.
What a great time we had in Pittsburgh! It was fantastic to meet so many of you – our team made some wonderful memories with the families in attendance.
Speaking of our team, I’d be remiss if I didn’t give a HUGE shout-out to my NDSC colleagues, our Board of Directors, Convention Planning Committee, the Pittsburgh Host Committee, and the hundreds of volunteers who made our 47th annual convention successful.
It’s a busy time at the NDSC Center as we put the final touches on this year’s NDSC Annual Convention! We’re all very excited to see you – old friends and new – when the world’s Down syndrome community comes together in Pittsburgh. If this is your first time attending an NDSC Convention, I strongly encourage you to attend the First Timer Orientation session Thursday night – it will help you get the most out of your conference experience. No matter how many times you’ve joined us, it will help to get familiar with the Convention App well before you arrive. You’ll find instructions on how to download this handy tool below.
At the NDSC, serving you and your family is our mission and our privilege. Since my last “Mission Moment”, we have delivered a Spanish-language workshop for adult siblings in McAllen, Texas; an Educators Conference in Nashville, Tennessee; two free webinars – one on transition by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Alyssa Siegel, MD, and another hosted by NDSC staff designed to help prepare attendees for the upcoming registration; and, we attended the Down Syndrome Affiliates in Action Conference in St. Louis, where NDSC Policy Director Heather Sachs provided a policy crash course and where we shared free information and materials with affiliate leaders. This weekend, we’re bringing our latest Down Syndrome Summit to Fort Wayne, Indiana, covering topics including inclusion, advocacy, behavior, health & medical, adult sibling issues, and special needs law.
Your NDSC Board and Staff recently returned from a very productive few days of meetings in this year’s Convention host city of Pittsburgh. Although it was a bit snowy during our visit, it’s easy to see why your family will fall in love with this beautiful destination come June. Pittsburgh has a spectacular natural setting its compact and easily walkable downtown district lies between the city’s famous three rivers, all ringed by mountains. There are wonderful museums (I even got to see Mr. Rogers’ famous cardigan sweater), attractions, and more restaurants than you can shake a stick at. Of course, within a short drive, there’s even more to see, such as Frank Lloyd Wright’s famous Fallingwater.
NDSC’s Mission Moment – Reflecting on 2018 and Looking Forward to 2019
with Executive Director David Tolleson
Happy New Year!
This year is off to a great start, as NDSC recently received a grant of $500,000 over three years to expand our ongoing work in rural, tribal, and urban outreach, and to take our renowned Educators Conference on the road. We are so grateful for this wonderful gift and appreciate that the private benefactor recognizes the transformative nature of NDSC’s educational programs for parents and professionals. For nearly five decades, NDSC has been the Down syndrome community’s leading information and advocacy resource–one particularly recognized for its caring, family-oriented approach.