By Kimberly Paulk, SHARECharlotte.com, a free, easy and local website that makes it easy to learn about and engage with our local nonprofits.
They’ve come a long way since their beginning as a group of Charlotte moms sitting at a kitchen table trying to figure out how best to provide support for families – their own and others – living with Down syndrome (Ds).
That was in 1986 and a lot has changed. Today the Down Syndrome Association of Greater Charlotte (DSAGC) has 3 full time employees and hundreds of volunteers serving 12 counties. In addition to the much-loved Buddy Walk, coming up on October 17, they run education programs and support local families in a variety of ways.
Their goal? To enable individuals with Down syndrome to reach their full potential and become respected members of the community. To accomplish this they reach out with education programs and speak at local schools, where kids can ask questions about their classmates and friends with Ds.
Kathryn Lariviere, Executive Director of DSAGC, says one of the most common questions they hear from kids and adults is about what causes Down syndrome. “We explain that it’s just that some people have three copies of the 21st chromosome. Almost everything about them is the same as everyone else; there’s just one little part that’s different.”
October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month. Now more than ever, children and adults with Down syndrome are a part of the fabric of our community and the Buddy Walk is a great way to demonstrate that. It’s one mile, designed to promote acceptance and inclusion for people with Ds and to raise funds for education, research and advocacy. And it’s fun. In fact, it’s so much fun that over 3,000 people attended last year in the rain. This year sun is the in forecast – so get it on your calendar! Register online or at the walk on the day of the event.
Interested in learning more? Visit www.sharecharlotte.com or check out the events and volunteer opportunities below.
DSAGC 2015 Buddy Walk – coming up on October 17, this is a great family fun day! Open 2 – 6 pm and held at the UNC-Charlotte Jerry Richardson Football Stadium. Come check out the bouncy houses, face painting and more. Oh, and registration is free!
21 Dreams Under the Stars Gala – held on November 13, at the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art. No bouncy houses here! The evening will include silent and live auctions, games & dancing. $80/per person.
Volunteer – All these events need helping hands! Get involved now.