Category: special needs

DIRTTbags Donate to Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society for World Down Syndrome Day

(SAVANNAH, GA) The Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society (LDSS) is pleased to announce, along with long-time community partner, DIRTT Environmental Solutions, DIRTT’s donation of more than $4,500 to the organization as we celebrate World Down Syndrome Day – March 21, 2020.

Local Savannah DIRTTbags chose LDSS as their 2019 Annual Partner and raised the funds through raffles and events, along with a shared vision to champion and celebrate acceptance and inclusion. LDSS has honored two DIRTTbags in the Savannah plant in recent years at their annual Night of Champions event – William Greene in 2015 and Chris Maynor in 2019.

“The DIRTTBags embody a beautiful message that if you can look beyond a label you might find unexpected blessings,” said John Bogardus, LDSS president and co-founder. “When we peeked inside the ‘bag’ we found our shining stars. Their example is a reminder that by looking beyond the label of disability, you can discover unexpected potential.”

DIRTT, which stands for Doing It Right This Time, uses technology-driven advanced manufacturing and a sustainable, prefab approach to interior construction that creates cost, schedule and quality certainty and long-term adaptability. Founded and headquartered in Calgary, DIRTT opened its Savannah facility in 2009 that now employs more than 100 DIRTTbags, as they all themselves. DIRTT’s culture is based on excellence, innovation and collaboration.

“It is our privilege to continue to partner with the Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society as part of our progressive approach to corporate responsibility and philanthropy,” said Laura Lee Bocade, based in DIRTT’s Savannah plant. “We couldn’t agree or align more with the mission of LDSS – inclusion of a segment of our community that make for OUTSTANDING employees – and we couldn’t ask for a better group of leaders to make this vision a reality than our LDSS colleagues. I’m continually amazed at the wisdom of DIRTTbags to select the best community partners, year after year.”

During raffles, contests and events held over the past 6 months, Savannah DIRTTBags $4,666 in support of the Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society and are excited to present the funds to LDSS on the occasion of World Down Syndrome Day. A check presentation ‘ceremony’ and luncheon in DIRTT’s plant and Café with LDSS and DIRTT teams and local individuals and families but plans changed due to the current social-distancing protocol.

World Down Syndrome Day will be celebrated on March 21. This global awareness day has been officially observed by the United Nations since 2012. Its purpose is to raise understanding of what Down syndrome is, what it means to have Down syndrome, and how people with Down syndrome play a vital role in our lives and communities.

ABOUT THE LOWCOUNTRY DOWN SYNDROME SOCIETY:
The Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society (LDSS) supports 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 ldssga.org

CONTACT
Whitney Lowery
Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society
wlowery@ldssga.org

ABOUT DIRTT:
DIRTT is a building process powered by technology. The company uses its proprietary ICE® software to design, manufacture and install fully customized interior environments. The technology drives DIRTT’s advanced manufacturing and provides certainty on cost, schedule and the final built solution. Complete interior spaces are constructed faster, cleaner and more sustainably. DIRTT’s manufacturing facilities are located in Savannah, Phoenix and Calgary. DIRTT works with nearly 100 sales partners globally. For more information visit www.dirtt.com

CONTACT
Laura Lee Bocade
DIRTT Environmental Solutions
lbocade#@dirtt.com

Whitney Lowery Named Executive Director of the Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society

Whitney Lowery Named Executive Director of the Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society

(SAVANNAH, GA) The Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society (LDSS) is pleased to announce that Whitney Lowery has joined its leadership team as executive director. Lowery brings a fresh perspective and 10 years’ experience working with people with different abilities to her new position with the nonprofit.

“It is such an honor to have the opportunity to work with this organization on account of the growing number of wonderful individuals and families it supports,” Lowery said. “The Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society makes a positive difference in so many lives, and I’m excited to be part of that.”

As executive director, Lowery hopes to increase support services, educational opportunities and advocacy programs for the people, families and caregivers LDSS represents.

With a bachelor of science in special education, Lowery joins LDSS after seven years as the community employment specialist with EmployAbility (formerly known as the Coastal Center for Developmental Services). Previously, she was a special education teacher in both Savannah and Augusta.

In addition to her work with LDSS, Lowery is the event coordinator and front end lead for local restaurant and fishmonger chain, Bubba Gumbo’s and BG’s Seafood Co-Op.

Lowery has made her home in Savannah with her fiance, 16-month-old son and two dogs. She enjoys designing and creating event costumes, making jewelry and beadwork, painting and baking in her time off.

ABOUT THE LOWCOUNTRY DOWN SYNDROME SOCIETY
The Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society (LDSS) supports 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 ldssga.org

CONTACT
Whitney Lowery
Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society
wlowery@ldssga.org

Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society Calls for 2020 Night of Champions Nominations

Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society Calls for 2020 Night of Champions Nominations

(SAVANNAH, GA) The Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society (LDSS) is seeking nominations and sponsors in preparation for its 11th Annual Night of Champions celebration of workplace success stories.

“Night of Champions is designed to highlight employees and their employers who, through dedication and leadership, illuminate the possibilities and benefits of inclusive communities and workspaces,” said Night of Champions chairman Tom Kenkel. “We welcome nominees from all over the Lowcountry and Coastal Empire and would love to hear from anyone with an uplifting story to share.”

Employee nominations may be completed online at https://nightofchampions.org, and will remain open until Friday, February 28.

The selected individuals and their employers will be invited as special guests to the Night of Champions dinner on Thursday, April 2, at 6 p.m. at the Savannah Convention Center.

Last year’s honorees included Erik Glasford, Effingham Health System; Meghan Mayle, Bubba Gumbo’s Seafood Restaurant; Reginald Horton, The Savannah Bananas; Chris Maynor, DIRTT Environmental Solutions; and Chris Holt, Tybee Island YMCA. Amy Wright, owner of Bitty & Beau’s Coffee, was the recipient of the 2019 President’s Award.

The evening will include a recognition ceremony, a silent auction benefiting LDSS and a cash bar, with Cyreia Sandlin serving as the night’s emcee. This year will feature two President’s Award honorees: Will Howell of WillPower Ties and Kevin Sheehan of the Savannah AMBUCS organization.

“The success of Night of Champions is directly tied to local organizations that create opportunities for people to demonstrate their desire to work and make valued contributions to their community,” Kenkel said. “The achievements of these champions in the workforce inspire more local organizations to take up the mission to light the way.”

LDSS is also seeking sponsors to support Night of Champions as it raises money to sustain the programs it offers throughout the year, including Camp Buddy for children with Down syndrome, its annual Buddy Walk in Forsyth Park and its weekly support meetings for the families and friends of individuals with Down syndrome.

To become a Night of Champions sponsor, to donate an item for the silent auction or to reserve tickets, visit https://nightofchampions.org. Individual tickets are $60 and tables of ten can be reserved for $600. For additional information, call 912-436-3626 or email info@ldssga.org.

Enmarket and Healthy Savannah Provide Day of Service and Donation to Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society

Enmarket and Healthy Savannah Provide Day of Service and Donation to Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society

(SAVANNAH, GA) Enmarket and Healthy Savannah presented a $1,000 donation to the Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society (LDSS) as part of the 2019 Enmarket Encourage Health Education Series.

Enmarket Encourage Health Education Series, Check Presentation to Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society

Volunteers from Healthy Savannah and Enmarket, Savannah’s largest and fastest-growing convenience store chain, also attended the 14th Annual LDSS Buddy Walk® in Forsyth Park to help set up, to work the festival and food stations following the walk and to clean up after the event.

Proceeds from the annual Buddy Walk benefit the local leadership, support, outreach, education and advocacy programs LDSS runs throughout the year to support people with Down syndrome, their families, and caregivers. This year, Buddy Walk offered healthy lunch options such as grilled chicken, fruit and vegetables to honor its commitment to promoting healthy lifestyles among children and adults with Down syndrome.

“The addition of a service day has brought a whole new dimension to the way we show our gratitude toward organizations like LDSS,” said Brett Giesick, president of Enmarket. “We so enjoyed connecting and celebrating with the families and the strong community LDSS has helped create in the Lowcountry.”

Enmarket and Healthy Savannah presented the check to LDSS during the fourth and final lecture of the 2019 Encourage Health Education Series. The presentation was given by Katie Balthrop, sport science professional and founder of Savannah Sport and Wellness, on the benefits of strength training at any age.

This marks the sixth year for the Enmarket Encourage Health Education Series, sponsored by Healthy Savannah, St. Joseph’s/Candler, Clover Health, Sandfly Family Dental, the Charles H. Morris Center at Trustees’ Garden, Cha Bella, David’s Dry Cleaners, the City of Savannah, Savannah Morning News, Savannah Magazine and WRHQ

ABOUT ENMARKET:
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 and was noted as the industry’s “Biggest Mover” in store count ranking by Convenience Store News in 2018. The company is committed to giving back to the community through many charitable contributions and volunteer efforts, offering fresh food, healthy snacks, and competitively priced quality fuel as part of its mission to enrich life. Enmarket currently employs more than 1,200 people and operates 124 convenience stores and 14 quick-serve restaurants as the 54th largest convenience store operator in the country. www.enmarket.com

CONTACT
Matt Clements
Vice President of Marketing
Enmarket
MClements@enmarket.com

MEDIA CONTACT
Cynthia Cradduck
Cecilia Russo Marketing
912.856.9075
www.crussomarketing.com
cynthia@crussomarketing.com

10th Annual Night of Champions Honors Differently-Abled Individuals and Their Employers

10th Annual Night of Champions Honors Differently-Abled Individuals and Their Employers

(SAVANNAH, GA) Five “Champions” and their employers were recognized at the Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society’s tenth annual Night of Champions held at the Savannah Convention Center.

The event recognized local businesses that hire and retain differently-abled people, including those with Down syndrome, and the contributions made by these employees who are designated as Champions.

The 2019 Champions include:

Erik Glasford
Effingham Health System
Glasford has worked in the operating room for almost three years now. He also mentors Project Search interns in the hospital.

Meghan Mayle
Bubba Gumbo’s Seafood Restaraunt
Mayle has mastered each task presented to her and steadily adds to her responsibilities.

Reginald Horton
The Savannah Bananas
Horton is entering his fourth season as part of the game day staff and helps with stadium maintenance.

Chris Maynor
DIRTT Environmental Solutions
Maynor is responsible for everything from assembling walls to assisting freight partners, in addition to training and assessing.

Chris Holt
Tybee Island YMCA
From the day Holt was hired, the YMCA has created a stronger team and community due to Holt’s enthusiasm and drive.

Night of Champions 2019

Night of Champions is an inspiring event for professional recognition of those individuals who exceed expectations while overcoming perceived barriers to employment. It’s a lot of individuals’ favorite event of the year, and our sponsors allow us to host past Champions for free,” says Tom Kenkel, the 2019 Night of Champions chairman.

In addition to recognizing community Champions and their employers, the Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society presented the 2019 President’s Award to Amy Wright, Founder and CEO of Bitty & Beau’s Coffee. Wright is an advocate for the value, acceptance and inclusion of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD).

John and Mark Cronin, owners of John’s Crazy Socks, were the keynote speakers for the evening. Celebrity chef and author Jamie Deen served as the emcee alongside Allyson Harvin.

The 2019 Night of Champions was presented by Grainger Honda and Grainger Nissan of Savannah. The event was sponsored by the Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society (LDSS), Coastal Electric of Georgia, Inc., Matson, Marchese Construction, Goodwill Southeast Georgia, Harris Lowry Manton LLP, Rise Biscuits & Donuts, Soto ALG, The Fabulous Equinox Orchestra & Equinox Entertainment, Dr. and Mrs. Ben Spitalnick, South State Bank, Paula Kreissler, Kenkel Design, Carriage Trade Public Relations, Savannah Convention Center, Stayce K Photography and Podcast On The Go.

For more information, visit https://ldssga.org

ABOUT THE LOWCOUNTRY DOWN SYNDROME SOCIETY 
The Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society (LDSS) supports 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 ldssga.org

CONTACT
Kayla Johnson
Executive Director
kjohnson@ldssga.org
912-436-3626

Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society Calls for 2019 Night of Champions Nominations

Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society Calls for 2019 Night of Champions Nominations

(SAVANNAH, GA) The Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society(LDSS) is asking for nominations for its 10th Annual Night of Championscelebration scheduled for May 9.

Low Country Down Syndrome Society Night of Champions Logo

The event recognizes employees with different abilities in the Savannah area who excel in their workplace and their employers who have come to understand the value and importance of inclusive employment.

Night of Championscelebrates employees and their employers whose dedication and leadership shine a light on the possibilities and benefits of inclusive communities and work spaces,” said Night of Championschairperson Tom Kenkel.

Employee nominations may be submitted online at https://nightofchampions.org/nominations/until Friday, March 29.

Selected employees and their employers will be invited as special guests to the Night of Championsdinner that will take place at 6 p.m. on Thursday, May 9, at the Savannah Civic Center.

Last year’s honorees included Elissa Brown, Kroger; Caroline Campbell, Zaxby’s; Herbert Hudson, Back in the Day Bakery; Marquis Smith, SCAD’s Byte Cafe; Jabari Tukes, Pooler Karate; Iyaona Weathers, Grainger Honda & Nissan.

In addition to dinner, the evening will include a recognition ceremony, a silent auction and a cash bar, with Jamie Deen & Allyson Harvin serving as the night’s emcee. This year’s key note speakers are John & Mark Cronin, owners of John’s Crazy Socks. Amy Wright, the owner of Bitty & Beau’s Coffee, is this year’s President’s Award Winner. Business professional attire is requested.

Individual tickets are $50; tables of ten can be reserved for $500 at nightofchampions.org. Sponsorship opportunities are also available and offer a range of benefits. For more information, call 912-436-3626.

ABOUT THE LOWCOUNTRY DOWN SYNDROME SOCIETY
The Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society(LDSS) supports 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. LDSSencourages the whole family to attend; children of all ages are welcome. LDSSis an affiliate of the National Down Syndrome Society. For more information about LDSS, visit ldssga.org

CONTACT
Kayla Johnson
Executive Director
kjohnson@ldssga.org
912-436-3626

Savannah Autism Conference Features Activist Temple Grandin as Keynote and Announces First Local Reverse Job Fair

Savannah Autism Conference Features Activist Temple Grandin as Keynote and Announces First Local Reverse Job Fair

(SAVANNAH, GA) Autism activist Temple Grandin, widely acknowledged as one of the world’s most accomplished and best-known autistic adults, will be the keynote speaker when the Matthew Reardon Center for Autismhosts its 2019 Autism ConferenceFeb. 28 and March 1 at the Savannah Convention Center. The conference comes as estimates indicate that one in 59 children born in the United States will be diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.

2019 Autism Conference

 

The Reardon Center’s fourth annual conference is organized for a diverse audience: professionals and academics who work with autistic people (with continuing education credits in many cases), families affected by autism, autistic people, potential employers and members of the general public who are interested in this growing social and medical challenge.

Grandin will discuss “Autism and My Path Through Life” the final afternoon of the conference as wrap up of the two-day conference, which also features presentations by 22 autism experts and includes a first-in-Savannah Reverse Job Fair to help people with autism find jobs.

General admission tickets for both days are $135, one-day tickets for Thursday or Friday are available for $100 or admission to Grandin’s lecture only is priced at $60. SCCPSSemployees are eligible for a specially-discounted, one day ticket, as well. To register and buy tickets, visit www.2019autismconference.com.

Grandin, a best-selling author of multiple books and an internationally recognized expert in animal welfare and behavior, did not speak until she was four-years-old and was diagnosed with autism at a time when it was less well understood than it is today. Her family ignored advice to institutionalize her and she went on to earn a doctorate in animal science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She currently is a professor of animal science at Colorado State University, and her research in the development of humane systems of handling animals in the meat-production industry is highly regarded and implemented internationally. Grandin is also the subject of a biographical movie and numerous television documentaries.

The 2019 Autism Conferencewill also feature numerous nationally-respected speakers, addressing topics such as educational strategies for teachers and parents, augmentative and assistive communication, guardianship and other legal issues, bullying and personal accounts from autistic people. A complete list of speakers can be found at https://2019autismconference.com/guest-speakers/autism-conference-speakers/

In addition to diverse workshops and Grandin’s keynote address, the conference will host a Reverse Job Fair, a setting which removes many of the barriers people with autism face when seeking employment.

How will this work? Registered job seekers with autism will prepare in workshops prior to the conference. At the conference fair, each job seeker will set up a table complete with posters and resumes. Potential employers then go from table to table, giving each job-seeker an opportunity to showcase their particular strengths. Interested employers should contact Jim Atkinson at jatkinson@progressiveabilities.org.

The 2019 Autism Conferenceis sponsored by Memorial University Medical Center, the Savannah Morning Newsand WTOC.

For more information, to register for the job fair or to purchase tickets, visit www.2019autismconference.com

ABOUT THE MATTHEW REARDON CENTER FOR AUTISM(MRCA):
MRCAoperates southeast Georgia’s only accredited year-round day school for children with autism. They have provided advocacy and outreach services to more than 870 families across southeast Georgia and have hosted professional training and instructional opportunities for more than 4,500 family members, educators, health professionals and self-advocates. The organization was incorporated in 2000 and currently serves 27 students through ADVANCE Academy. They have 14 full-time employees and operate in an 8,800 sq foot school building, formerly St. Francis Cabrini Catholic School, located at 11500 Middleground Road, Savannah, GA 31419. Website: http://www.matthewreardon.org/

MEDIA CONTACT
Cynthia Cradduck
Carriage Trade Public Relations
912-856-9075
cynthia.cradduck@carriagetradepr.com
www.carriagetradepr.com