LDSS Announces Camp Buddy 2018 in Chatham, Effingham
(CHATHAM AND EFFINGHAM COUNTIES) The Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society (LDSS) will host its tenth annual Camp Buddy summer camps in Chatham and Effingham Counties later this month and in July.
Camp Buddy offers programs to prepare children for the upcoming school year with the goal of promoting information retention from the previous year. Special education teachers along with occupational, physical and speech therapists have worked to design a customized curriculum that meets this goal most effectively.
“Camp Buddy has helped many children to excel in new areas and become stronger students as they approach the upcoming year,” said Pam Hussey, Chatham Camp Buddy director. “We look forward to continuing and even bolstering that legacy with our tenth year.”
This year’s Chatham Camp Buddy, July 9 – 20, will have a Dr. Seuss theme designed to bring a whimsical twist to camp activities such as music, dance, arts and crafts as well as bike, trike and scooter-board riding.
Chatham County campers in high school will cook lunch for their parents, embark on a river trip with Bull River Cruises and have visits from special guests who will include a soccer coach, a karate teacher and a yoga instructor. They also will participate in community service projects such as food donations and will visit Harvesters, a community food network, to learn about volunteer opportunities.
Effingham Camp Buddy, June 18-22, will feature special guests such as Chef Nick Mueller, who will do a cooking segment, local artists such as Morgan Webb, who will do art projects, and karate master instructor Carson Fortner, who will do a training session with the kids. Other activities will include a special field trip, crafts, music, dancing, pet therapy and operating the camp store.
Information on CHATHAM Camp Buddy:
Dates: Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from Monday, July 9 through Friday, July 20.
Times: Middle and high school camps will be 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m., and elementary school camp will be 1 p.m.-4 p.m. Preschoolers will attend from 9 a.m.-12 p.m.
Location: Coastal Middle School in Savannah, Ga.
Information on EFFINGHAM Camp Buddy:
Dates: Every day from Monday, June 18 through Friday, June 22.
Times: Camp for ages 3-9 will be 8:30-11:30 a.m., and camp for ages 10 and up will be 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Location: Blandford Elementary School in Rincon, Ga.
Camp Buddy is sponsored by the Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society and is made possible through the generosity of the community, friends and families of LDSS and events such as the Buddy Walk and Night of Champions. For more information about LDSS, visit http://www.ldssga.org/
ABOUT THE LOWCOUNTRY DOWN SYNDROME SOCIETY
The Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society (LDSS) is a family support group to benefit people with Down syndrome and their families through local leadership, outreach, education and advocacy to champion and celebrate acceptance and inclusion. Meetings are held every fourth Tuesday of the month, typically with a guest speaker and social time for families to meet and interact with one another. LDSS encourages people to bring their children. LDSS is an affiliate of the National Down Syndrome Society. For more information about LDSS, visit http://www.ldssga.org/
9th Annual Night of Champions Honors Differently-abled Working Adults and Their Employers
(SAVANNAH, GA) Six “Champions” and their employers were recognized at the Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society’s ninth annual Night of Champions held at the Savannah International Trade and Convention Center. This year’s theme was designated as “Legacy” to call on the community to design a legacy for the inclusion of differently-abled people.
Night of Champions 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.
Selected from among 15 nominees, six “Champions” and their employers were honored:
Tukes, a greeter and custodian at Pooler Karate, is always on time and ready to give students a fist bump. Before students arrive, Tukes waters the plants, cleans the windows and helps with anything needed to prepare for the day before he takes his place to open the door for customers with his ever-present smile. Fellow employees have commented that it makes them feel cared about when Tukes asks them about their well-being. His positive presence also has provided insight into caring for children with different abilities who take lessons at the studio.
Hudson is a kitchen assistant at Back in The Day Bakery, and his supervisor has nick-named him Herbie the Lovebug for the compassion he shows for his fellow employees as he works to keep the kitchen running smoothly.
Brown, a courtesy clerk at Kroger, is known for her integrity, respect and incredible diligence. She lives in her own apartment, maintains a healthy lifestyle and rides her tricycle to work. Brown stays busy swimming, bowling, weight-lifting and staying involved on Tybee Island through activities with The Coastal Mermaid & Pirate Club.
Smith is a utility and kitchen assistant at SCAD’s Byte Café, a branch of Bon Appetit Catering. He works to keep the café clean and well stocked, is known as one of its hardest workers and has impressed his supervisors with his willingness to take on new challenges. He helps train new employees and has come out of his shell, befriending not only co-workers but also SCAD students and staff.
Weathers is a file clerk who has done so well that Grainger Honda and Nissan have hired six more individuals with different abilities. Weathers is known as a day-brightener whose fellow employees enjoy the days she sings while she works.
Campbell works in guest services at Zaxby’s in Beaufort, S.C., where she delivers orders, cleans the restaurant and greets customers, making every customer feel valued as she asks about their days. Campbell says her day is always perfect.
A special recognition called “Message in Motion,” awarded to employers who have attended Night of Champions in the past and were motivated by the event to hire differently-abled employees, was given to Carson Fortner of Pooler Karate for the opportunity he has given Jabari Tukes.
“Night of Champions is an inspiring event for professional recognition of those individuals who exceed expectations while overcoming perceived barriers to employment. Attendees love returning every year, and our sponsors allow us to host Past Champions for free,” says Tom Kenkel, the 2018 Night of Champions co-chairman. “Roughly 800 guests attended this year thanks in part to a larger venue that accommodates the event’s growing popularity and attendance.”
Sara Hart Weir, the president and CEO of the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS), and Kandi Pickard, first vice president of NDSS, attended the event. Celebrity chef and author Jamie Deen served as the emcee alongside Allyson Harvin.
MORE ABOUT THE LOWCOUNTRY DOWN SYNDROME SOCIETY
The Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society (LDSS) is a family support group to benefit people with Down syndrome and their families through local leadership, outreach, education, and advocacy to champion and celebrate acceptance and inclusion. Meetings are held every 4th Tuesday of the month, typically with a guest speaker and social time for families to meet and interact with one another. LDSS encourages people to bring their children. LDSS is an affiliate of the National Down Syndrome Society. For more information about LDSS, visit http://www.ldssga.org/
President, Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society
Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society Announces 2018 Board of Directors
(SAVANNAH, GA) Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society (LDSS) is pleased to announce its 2018 board of directors.
Officers include Tom Kenkel (Kenkel Design), president; Dr. Ben Spitalnick (Pediatric Associates), vice president; Michael Holton, Jr. (self-advocate), secretary; Brian Hussey (BankSouth), treasurer; and Candy Bogardus (Grace Community Church), past president.
They are joined on the board by Jason Ambrose (Moore Industrial Supply), John Bogardus (Zimmer Biomet), Jamie Deen (chef and author), Joe Marchese (Marchese Construction), Harris Martin (Bouhan Falligant), Kristin Nyce (Volunteer), Traci Shreck (Kicklighter Resource Center) and Stephen Greene (South State Bank).
“We are gearing up for a year filled with fun, fellowship and growth within our group and in our community,” said Kenkel. “The organization is so blessed to have such amazing community support here at home.”
LDSS has grown from a group of four families who banded together in April 2006, with a shared experience of having a family member with Down syndrome, to a society that has attracted thousands of parents, children, advocates, community volunteers and corporate supporters. Annual events include the one-mile Buddy Walk, the Night of Champions gala dinner and Camp Buddy, held each summer to help children retain the educational milestones they achieved over the course of the past school year.
The organization meets the fourth Tuesday of the month in the Benedictine Military School Media Center, 6502 Seawright Drive, at 6:30 p.m. The meeting is open to any and all and includes childcare.
ABOUT THE LOWCOUNTRY DOWN SYNDROME SOCIETY
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 http://www.ldssga.org/
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 www.ldssga.org.
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.
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 nightofchampions.org 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 nightofchampions.org.
ABOUT THE LOWCOUNTRY DOWN SYNDROME SOCIETY
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 ldssga.org
Faith Equestrian Therapeutic Center Select Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society’s Joe Marchese and WSAV’s Ariella Scalese as Emcees for the 2018 Hearts for Healing Gala on Feb. 9
(SAVANNAH, GA) Joe Marchese, immediate past president of the Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society (LDSS) in Savannah, and Ariella Scalese, forecaster for the WSAV Storm Team 3, have been chosen as the emcees for the Hearts for Healing Gala to benefit Faith Equestrian Therapeutic Center. The second annual event will be held on Friday, Feb. 9, at the Tybee Island Wedding Chapel.
Faith Equestrian is a non-profit organization founded to improve the quality of life for children with special needs through therapeutic interaction with horses at the center.
Marchese, who has years of experience in the differently abled community, will help guide the night’s activities, which include dinner, dancing, a silent auction and live music from the John Brackett Quartet.
“I am humbled and honored to be presented with this opportunity,” said Marchese. “As a founding board member of the Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society, and as a parent of a child with Down Syndrome I have been exposed to the emotional and cognitive challenges faced by children with different abilities and I love what a difference that Faith Equestrian makes in their lives.”
Scalese graduated from Lehigh University, where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Earth and Environmental Science and minored in Mass Communication before coming to Savannah to continue her career in broadcasting. Scalese volunteers for a number of organizations including Faith Equestrian.
“Since moving here in 2016, I made it a goal to find local organizations that I’m passionate about and donating my time to them,” said Scalese. “Faith Equestrian has given me so much more than I could ever give to it, and I’m honored to be named an emcee for their annual gala.”
Faith Equestrian serves children with all types of challenges, including autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, learning disabilities and behavioral disorders. Interaction with the horses allows the students to build strength, develop coordination skills and gain confidence in an outdoor and supportive setting.
Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. for the silent auction; the reception will begin at 7 p.m.
Tickets are $150 and may be purchased at http://www.faithetc.org/hearts-for-healing-gala/.
The 2018 Hearts for Healing Gala is sponsored by Savannah Special Events by Ranco, First City Events, Low Country Paper Co., Whitemarsh Beverage, J Thomas Catering, Savannah’s Hall of Cakes, South Magazine and Tybee Island Wedding Chapel. Sponsorship opportunities are still available.
MORE ABOUT THE LOWCOUNTRY DOWN SYNDROME SOCIETY
The Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society (LDSS) is a family support group to benefit people with Down syndrome and their families through local leadership, outreach, education and advocacy to champion and celebrate acceptance and inclusion. 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 people to bring their children to all of their meetings. LDSS is an affiliate of the National Down Syndrome Society. For more information about LDSS, visit http://www.ldssga.org/
ABOUT FAITH EQUESTRIAN THERAPEUTIC CENTER
Faith Equestrian Therapeutic Center, 243 Appaloosa Way in Guyton, GA. 31312, exists to improve the lives of individuals with disabilities through the power of the horse. The program serves children ages 4 to 18 with all types of challenges, including autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, learning disabilities and behavioral disorders. The center offers therapeutic riding courses and an equestrian program in partnership with local schools. For more information, visit https://faithetc.org
Five Ways to Make Holidays Happier for Children with Different Abilities
By Dr. Ben Spitalnick, Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society, Board of Directors
Every parent wants the holiday season to be a special, joyous time for their child, and parents of children with different abilities or special needs usually have to take a couple of extra steps to ensure the holidays are just that.
To help along the way, the Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society offers five tips to help make the holiday season run smoothly and keep your kids happy.
1. Prepare Your Child
Your child wants to know the plans for the holiday season as much as you do. To reduce stress and prepare your child for upcoming activities, explain what you’ll be doing, who will be there and what the schedule is for the day. Write down the schedule for them and include pictures.
2. Prepare Your Family
Remind your family of the needs of your child. If there are other little ones, ask their parents to talk to them about your child’s differences. This can help reduce confusion and will foster a sense of understanding. It might help, a few days before everyone gets together, to send family members an informational email with 10 things to know about your child.
3. Bring Familiar Toys
The holidays are a chaotic time. Familiarity will help your child remain calm and feel comfortable. Bring his or her favorite toy, book or something that soothes your child at home. When things get a little too crazy, that may help your child feel comfortable.
4. Ask For Help
Don’t feel guilty for asking for help. Every parent needs help, and you do too. Explain the needs of your child to another family member or two and ask them to step in when you need a break. Explain to your child, too, that this person will be playing with them or watching them for a few minutes while you are busy.
5. Let Your Child Help
Preparing for the holidays can be stressful, but if you let your child help, you can create family traditions and keep everyone a little happier. Give your child a task such as greeting everyone at the door or stirring the sauce. This will keep your child focused, reduce his or her stress levels and give you an extra hand.
To create a happier time of celebration, we encourage all parents of children with different abilities to prepare their little ones a bit extra this holiday season. These small proactive measures can do a lot to help your child adjust to large crowds, new situations and days off-schedule. We hope this will make your holiday season a little jollier.
Dr. Ben Spitalnick is managing partner of Pediatric Associates of Savannah and currently serves as Representative for the Savannah area to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Spitalnick is from North Atlanta and is a graduate of the University of Georgia, received his medical degree from MCG, and did his Pediatric Residency at Memorial Health University here in Savannah. He serves on the board of directors for the Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society.