Category: nonprofit

Join the Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society in Wearing Mismatched Socks for World Down Syndrome Day and St. Patrick’s Day

Join the Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society in Wearing Mismatched Socks for World Down Syndrome Day and St. Patrick’s Day

By Joe Marchese

My daughter, Ella, loves to celebrate. She considers everyone a friend and I don’t think I’ve ever met a better dancer. In addition to her outgoing and loving personality, she also has an extra copy of her 21st chromosome pair (TRISOMY 21. 3-21), more commonly known as Down Syndrome.

Some may consider Ella to have a disability. At the Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society (LDSS), we see her as having different abilities and realize that all people are uniquely created and bring different contributions to the world.
Wednesday, March 21st (3/21) is World Down Syndrome Day. As part of that day, I would like to personally invite you to join us in celebrating the fact that “We are all different…that’s what makes us the same.”

On Saturday, March 17th, our beautiful hostess city, Savannah, will be focused on St. Patricks Day. The Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society will once again have a float in the parade and we will all be wearing mismatched socks to show that being different is a good thing and to make people aware of the upcoming World Down Syndrome Day.

Please help us to celebrate by:

• Wearing mismatched socks on March 17th and on March 21st and explain to anyone who notices that we appreciate and celebrate differently abled individuals and how their differences make the world a better place.

• Posting a picture of your socks to your facebook page. Tag the photo using #LDSS, #differentabilities, #WorldDownSyndromeDay.

• Challenging two friends to join in the fun.

These simple, small steps can change our community and the world!

We rely on individual donations from people just like you to support the events we hold through the year, such as the Night of Champions, where we honor employers and their employees with different abilities, and the Buddy Walk, that raises awareness of the unlimited potential of all people. In recognition of World Down Syndrome day, we are also collecting $2.00 donations, one for each mismatched sock, or any other amount at

For those of you unfamiliar with what we do. The Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society is a support group to benefit local people with Down Syndrome and their families through leadership in support, outreach, education and advocacy. We envision a world in which all people with different abilities have the opportunity to create their own path in order to enhance their quality of life, realize their life aspirations and become valued members of a welcoming community.

As I always say, I hope that Savannah will become known as the “most inclusive city in the United States.” Maybe a pair of mismatched socks can help spread that message. I hope you ‘ll join me.

Please stop me and say hello on St. Patricks Day; I’ll be the guy wearing the striped and polka dot socks. So roll up your pant legs and join in the fun.

Joe Marchese Low Country Down Syndrome Society

Joe Marchese of the Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society

Joe Marchese
Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society board member 
Proud parent of Katie, Ella and Lucy
Cell: 912-213-9999


Bethesda Academy Announces Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for Newly Renovated Pavilion

Bethesda Academy Announces Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for Newly Renovated Pavilion by the Barnbuilders

(SAVANNAH, GA) The Bethesda Barnbuilders, a local volunteer group, will finish work in March on a newly renovated pavilion for students and guests at Bethesda Academy. The school will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the completed structure on Monday, March 19 at 11:30 a.m. The event is open to the public and a light lunch will be served.

The Barnbuilders are doubling the size of the pavilion and adding a screened-in area. The group built the picnic pavilion in 2000 and have been expanding and improving it since.

The pavilion will be used for school functions and will be available for guests to rent for events.

“The Barnbuilders have a special place on Bethesda’s campus,” said Mike Hughes, president of Bethesda Academy. “Our students and faculty have watched this group dedicate Monday mornings to our school for the last 20 years, and these men are a true example of hard work and genuine character for our young men.”

The Bethesda Barnbuilders have met at Bethesda Academy every Monday since 1998. On average, 12 men work on various projects at the school each Monday between 8 a.m. and noon. The group consists primarily of retired men who live on Skidaway Island. This year, the group received a grant from the Landings Landlovers to offset costs of the pavilion renovations.

As Bethesda’s Maintenance Director, Beau Lynah did an analysis a few years ago to value the work completed annually by the Barnbuilders and believes a conservative estimate is right around $200,000 each year. Projects completed by the Barnbuilders include, among others, a repair of the alumni cottage, an athletic trainer suite and new football lockers for the JV team.

Founded in 1740, Bethesda Academy is the oldest child-care institution in the United States. Now it is a private boarding and day school for young men in grades six through twelve and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The 650-acre campus features a variety of athletic teams, a wildlife management and organic farming program and STEM curriculum. Through its “Lead The Way” initiative, students have access to exclusive integrated learning and leadership opportunities. For more information, visit or call 912.644.4376.

Cynthia Wright
Carriage Trade Public Relations®
Cecilia Russo Marketing

The Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Coastal Empire Fifth Annual Wine Women & Shoes Fundraiser

The Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Coastal Empire Announces Fifth Annual Wine Women & Shoes Fundraiser Set for May 3

(SAVANNAH, GA) The Fifth Annual Wine Women & Shoes fundraiser will be held on Thursday, May 3 at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Savannah, located at 2 W Bay St. This major fundraiser for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Coastal Empire benefits families of seriously ill and injured children.

“Last year we raised more than $150 thousand and we have worked hard to help make this year’s fundraiser supporting the Ronald McDonald House our best ever,” said Bill Sorochak, executive director. “We are expecting a sell-out crowd of more than 600 guests for a fabulous evening of sip-sational wines, fabulous shopping, charming ‘Shoe Guys’ and savory foods.”

Kicking off at 6:00 p.m., VIP ticket holders will be allowed early access to the Hyatt’s Harborside Room (the glass room on River Street) to peruse items for sale and get first dibs on the coveted Keys-to-the-Closet and Key-to-the-Cellar raffles. Then, at 7:00 p.m., the doors will open for everyone else to join the festivities.

“We say that this event can change your shoes but its real mission is to change lives,” Sorochak added. “One hundred percent of the funds raised in the Coastal Empire stays here to help our residents cope with the stress and expense of daily living while trying to be close and emotionally strong for their child. In 2017, we provided 4,270 family night stays at the Ronald McDonald House. An event like this can provide 1,600 of those family-night stays.”

Sorochak projects proceeds from this year’s Wine Women & Shoes may top previous years due, in part, to the continued support from local McDonald’s restaurant owners and operators as well as the dedication of partners since the event’s inception – Ameris Bank, Dr. Corinne Howington of Low Country Dermatology and Cecilia Russo Marketing.

Tickets are now on sale and sponsor opportunities are also available. For tickets or more information, contact Bill Sorochak at or visit

Wine Women & Shoes is the brainchild of Napa Valley vintner, Elaine Honig. While chatting with a girlfriend about the growing popularity of wine and food pairing events, they jokingly said, “Wine and shoe pairings would be a lot more fun!” And they were right. WW&S events are now in 50 cities across the country, and they have raised more than $22,000,000 for women and children’s causes. Wine Women & Shoes fundraisers create an opportunity for partnerships between charities, wineries, shoe and accessory retailers, corporate sponsors and women in the community. In addition to raising money, these events raise awareness for charities, increase sales for wineries and retail partners, and provide community outreach for corporate sponsors. For more information, visit

The mission of Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Coastal Empire is to create, find and support programs that directly enhance the health and well-being of children and families. The Savannah Ronald McDonald House has thirteen bedrooms and operates on a waiting list most of the year. The House provides a “home away from home” for families who live more than thirty miles away and who have a critically ill or injured child receiving treatment at Memorial Children’s Hospital, Candler Hospital, or where needed in the Coastal Empire.

Cecilia Russo
Cecilia Russo Marketing

Southern Coast Heart Ball Raises $260K for the American Heart Association

Southern Coast Heart Ball Sponsored By Peacock Automotive Raises $260K for the American Heart Association

(HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C.) The American Heart Association–Southern Coast has raised $260,000 to benefit the organization’s mission to fight and prevent heart disease and stroke in the Savannah and Hilton Head Island areas.

The funds were raised at the organization’s 21st Annual Heart Ball of the Southern Coast attended by more than 500 people on Feb. 3 at the Westin Hilton Head Island Resort and Spa.

“If you don’t think this disease can touch everyone, believe me, it can,” said Warner Peacock, president and CEO of Peacock Automotive, whose son, Landon Peacock, had a heart incident when he was 21 years old. “My family and I personally know the importance of supporting the mission of this organization.”

Peacock’s Audi Hilton Head dealership was the legacy sponsor for this year’s gala, as it has been for several of the Southern Coast Heart Ball events. The dealership is located at the Peacock Auto Mall on U.S. 278 in Jasper County, S.C.

Landon Peacock also served as the 2018 Open Your Heart chair to bring community and philanthropic leaders together to celebrate the mission of the local group. The evening of dining, dancing, live entertainment and fundraising auctions was supported by Hilton Head Regional Healthcare and was emceed by Dr. Terri Hubbard and Dr. Atul Gupta. The event also recognized Maggie Maine, the 2018 Open Your Heart Honoree who was born with a congenital heart defect.

A number of luxury items were donated for the event’s auction, including cultural trips to Spain, a Bahamas vacation and the chance to be named in a Mary Kay Andrews novel. Proceeds will be used to further cardiovascular disease research, to improve the lives of local residents and to provide community education about the risks of cardiovascular disease and strokes.

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States while stroke is the fifth leading cause of death and the leading cause of serious, long-term disability. Nearly 2,200 Americans die of heart disease each day.

The American Heart Association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary health organization. To learn more about the American Heart Association Southern Coast or Southern Coast Heart Ball, please call (843) 540-6338 or visit

Peacock Automotive Rebrands New River Auto Mall to Peacock Auto Mal

Peacock Automotive owns and operates 20 automotive franchises in Georgia, South Carolina and Florida and employs more than 600 individuals. The company’s headquarters are located at the Peacock Auto Mall that covers 45 acres on U.S. 278, five miles east of Interstate 95 at Exit 8 in South Carolina. Fifteen brands are featured at the Auto Mall, including Alfa Romeo, Audi, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Genesis, Hyundai, Jaguar, Jeep, Land Rover, Maserati, Porsche, Ram, Subaru and Volkswagen. Additionally, the company owns Savannah Volkswagen, Alfa Romeo & Fiat of Savannah and Jaguar Land Rover Columbia in Columbia, S.C. Its subsidiary, Peacock-Griffey Automotive, owns Peacock Ford in Orlando, Fla. Peacock Automotive also owns and operates the Peacock Collision Center and the Wellness Institute in South Carolina. For more information about Peacock Automotive, call (843) 208-1258 or visit

Jill Jauch
Advertising and Marketing Manager

Jennifer Waites
Director of Marketing Communications
(803) 665-0120

LDSS Calls for Nominations for the 9th Annual Night of Champions

LDSS Calls for Nominations for the 9th Annual Night of Champions

(SAVANNAH, GA) The Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society (LDSS) is requesting nominations for its 9th Annual Night of Champions to be held this May. The event seeks to recognize Savannah area employees who are differently-abled and excel in their workplace, with an additional acknowledgment of the employers who have given them the opportunity to work.

“Night of Champions celebrates employees and their employers whose dedication and leadership shines a light on the possibilities and benefits of inclusive communities and workspaces,” said Night of Champions Chairperson, Tom Kenkel.

Employee nominations can be submitted online at until Friday, April 13.

The selected employees and their employers will be invited as special guests to the Night of Champions dinner, which will take place at the Savannah International Trade and Convention Center on Thursday, May 10, at 6 p.m.

In addition to dinner, the evening will include a recognition ceremony, a silent auction and a cash bar, with Jamie Deen and Allyson Harvin serving as the night’s emcees. Business professional attire is requested.

Individual tickets are $50, and tables of ten can be reserved for 
$500 at

Jamie Deen will co-emcee Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society's 9th annual Night of Champions

Jamie Deen will co-emcee Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society’s 9th annual Night of Champions

The Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society (LDSS) is a support group to benefit people with Down syndrome and their families through local leadership, support, outreach, education and advocacy. Meetings are held every fourth Tuesday of the month, typically with a guest speaker and social time for families to meet and interact. LDSS encourages the whole family to attend; children of all ages are welcome. LDSS is an affiliate of the National Down Syndrome Society. For more information about LDSS, visit

Tom Kenkel

Cynthia Wright
Carriage Trade Public Relations®

Local Nonprofit Organizations Invited to Apply for Enmarket Encourage Health Series 2018

Local Nonprofit Organizations Invited to Apply for Enmarket Encourage Health Series 2018

(SAVANNAH, GA) Enmarket is inviting Savannah area nonprofit organizations to apply to be selected as one of four grant recipients as part of the 2018 Encourage Health Educational Series. The application process will be conducted through a Facebook contest. Selected nonprofit organizations will receive a $1,000 grant.

Any Savannah area registered 501©3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote healthy living, active lifestyles or nutritional education is encouraged to enter.

The rules: “Like” the Enmarket page ( and post a nomination as a comment explaining why your organization should be chosen as a grant recipient. Entries must include how the nonprofit organization inspires or promotes healthy living. The advisory board will consider the total number of “likes” on individual posts for the final selection.

Enmarket’s Facebook page can be found at Entries will open on Monday, Feb. 12. The deadline is midnight Monday, Feb. 26.

The series features four lunchtime presentations from respected experts who share insights on nutrition and fitness and general tips for healthy living. Speakers for the 2018 series will be announced in March.

Each winning nonprofit organization will receive a donation during one of the four Encourage Health Education Series presentations.

This marks the fifth year for the Enmarket Encourage Health Education Series conducted in partnership with Healthy Savannah, Sandfly Family Dental, Gulfstream Aerospace Corp., Clover Health, Hoist Water, Savannah Morning News and Savannah Magazine.

For more information and to participate, visit

Enmarket, founded as Interstate Stations by Robert Demere in 1963, is part of Savannah-based Colonial Group, Inc. The retailer operates convenience stores in Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. Previously known as Enmark, it launched a rebranding initiative in 2015 to better align with its commitment to fresh food and health. Enmarket completed the acquisition of 35 Clyde’s Markets on December 1. The addition of the EZ-Shop stores will bring the company to a total of 122 operating stores, making Enmarket the 54th largest convenience store operator in the country.

enmarket encourage health, savannah health, Savannah Public Relations, Carriage Trade Public Relations, Cecilia Russo Marketing

Matt Clements
Director of Marketing