Sunday, March 20, 2016

World Down Syndrome Day 2016: Opportunity Abounds

3/21 is World Down Syndrome Day (chosen for the trisomy of the 21st chromosome).  It's a global campaign to raise awareness about what Down syndrome is, what life with Down syndrome is like, and the important roles people with Down syndrome play in our lives and in our communities.

I truly believe that Josie is growing up in a world with more respect, acceptance, and opportunities.  Today's youth are receiving more chances to get to know individuals with Down syndrome through inclusion efforts in educational and social settings and in this process, they are relieved of the ignorance that results from a lack of exposure.  Instead, this generation of children will gain an appreciation for the idea that different is beautiful and the diversity of the human condition is something to embrace and celebrate.

And because today's generation will have an opportunity to learn from Josie, when they are tomorrow's employers, I believe they will offer more opportunity to Josie and other individuals with special needs.  Today's youth will be raised with a more thorough understanding of the capabilities of individuals with Down syndrome and the contributions that these individuals can make.
 On World Down Syndrome Day, we'd like to highlight a couple of cool campaigns that are actively seeking to advance the perceptions of individuals with Down syndrome and to open up more opportunities for these individuals: 

 1.  Ruby's Rainbow and the 3/21 Pledge -  Ruby's Rainbow is an organization dedicated to providing opportunities for individuals with Down syndrome to pursue higher education through granting scholarships.  On March 21st, they simply ask you to 1.  Donate $21 2. Pledge to be kind and considerate of people of all abilities 3.  Ask 3 friends to do the same.  I did it and I welcome you to join me.  It's an awesome cause.  Learn more about it HERE.

2.  GiGi's Playhouse Generation G Campaign - GiGi's Playhouse asks you to draw a heart on your hand with a "G" on the inside, take a picture, and then post it on social media using the hashtag #generationG.  In doing so, you are pledging join a generation that shows acceptance and respect towards all individuals, regardless of abilities.  So if you want to be part of a generation that actively promotes these values, join us, please.

Lydia says if you find the heart with the "G" a little too understated for your tastes, wait until no one is paying attention and dig into your sister's marker collection and add more pizzazz to your hands as quickly as possible before the Crayola contraband is confiscated.

Happy World Down Syndrome Day!

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