Tagged: down syndrome education

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

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LDSS Announces Camp Buddy 2019 in Chatham, Effingham

LDSS Announces Camp Buddy 2019 in Chatham, Effingham

(CHATHAM AND EFFINGHAM COUNTIES) The Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society (LDSS) will host its eleventh annual Camp Buddy summer camps in Chatham and Effingham Counties later this month and in July.

Camp Buddy 2018

The Effingham County camp is scheduled for June 24-28; in Chatham County, it will be held July 8-19.

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 for the program.

“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 eleventh year.”

Activities will include a special field trip, crafts, music, dancing, pet therapy and operating the camp store.

This year’s Chatham Camp Buddy will have a Super Hero theme designed to bring an action-filled twist to camp activities such as music, dance, arts and crafts as well as STEM activities, baking and math games.

Chatham County high school campers will ride the city bus to visit Bitty and Beau’s coffee shop where they will learn about employment, make cookies and deliver them to the Ronald McDonald House. They also will pack food at America’s Second Harvest of Coastal Georgia.

Information on Chatham Camp Buddy:
Dates: Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from Monday, July 8 through Friday, July 19.
Times: Middle and high school camps will be 9 a.m.-1 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: Marshpoint Elementary School in Savannah, Ga.

For more information about Chatham Camp Buddy, contact Pam Hussey at (912) 220-6429 or pbjhussey@gmail.com.

Information on Effingham Camp Buddy:
Dates: Every day from Monday, June 24, through Friday, June 28.
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.

To learn more about Effingham Camp Buddy, contact Molly Marchese at (912) 213-9127 or mollymarchese@windstream.net

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) 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
Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society
912-436-3626
kjohnson@ldssga.org
10701 Abercorn St., #60786
Savannah, GA 31420

MEDIA CONTACT 
Marjorie Young
Carriage Trade Public Relations
912-844-9990
marjorie@carriagetradepr.com
www.carriagetradepr.com

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

The Greatest Legacy of President George H.W. Bush

The Greatest Legacy of President George H.W. Bush
By Kayla Johnson

Over the past several days, Americans have paused to remember our 41st U.S. president, George H.W. Bush.

Kayla Johnson, Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society

Following his death on November 30, the news was filled with reminders of his dedication as a public servant. As vice president and president, he helped guide our country out of the cold war. During World War II, he was an aviator in the Pacific theater and survived being shot down by Japanese gunners.

Plus, all of us have seen the many photos portraying his humanity as a devoted husband, father and grandfather to a large and loving family.

While I honor and remember him for all of these things, it was the union of the two great loves of his life – service to his country and love of family – that became his greatest legacy. That occurred when he signed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) into law on July 26, 1990. He had supported the monumental legislation as it made its way through Congress and is credited with ensuring its eventual passage.

Modeled after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the ADA is one of America’s most comprehensive pieces of civil rights legislation designed to prohibit discrimination and guarantee that people with disabilities have the same opportunities as everyone else to participate in the mainstream of American life. It opened doors to employment opportunities, requires covered employers to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities and imposes accessibility requirements on public accommodations.

This legislation changed everything, not just for those with disabilities, but for all of us.

When President Bush signed the ADA into law on that third week after Independence Day nearly 30 years ago, he did so with a great sense of enthusiasm and ceremony. While I’m sure he was confident it would be an “equal opportunity” law for people with disabilities, I also believe his passion was genuine as he shared these words at the bill’s signing:

“I now lift my pen to sign this Americans with Disabilities Act and say: Let the shameful wall of exclusion finally come tumbling down.”

President Bush went on to champion, and then sign the IDEA Act in October 1990, which provides children with disabilities the same opportunities for education as those students who do not have a disability. His actions directly influenced the passage of the ABLE Act in 2014, which created tax-advantaged savings accounts for individuals with disabilities; and H.R. 188, also known as the TIME Act, which was introduced in 2015. This legislation proposes phasing out a section of the Fair Labor Standards Act which allows “sub-minimum wage” compensation for work by people with different abilities.

While our work is ongoing, the lawful beginnings are notably attributed to President George H. W. Bush and for him, we are thankful.

Certainly, the ADA declared new opportunities for the differently-abled to be independent, but could we have imagined how it would benefit everyone? From that day forward, the word “inclusion” would become part of our vocabulary, our building codes, our hiring practices and our general thoughts.

The often unspoken rift that had long kept those with disabilities from sharing spaces, workplaces and experiences that everyone else takes for granted was dissolving. It would not be an immediate transition or an easy one for some, but little by little the ADA changed our culture and our mindsets. People who had been considered invisible or hindered by convention and physical obstacles were now recognized as the productive, enthusiastic, capable individuals that they are and were finally given the full rights of citizenship afforded to every other American.

As executive director of the Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society, I see the fruits of the ADA each day in the eyes and on the faces of those whose lives have been changed for the better because of President George H.W. Bush’s act love.

With the deepest appreciation now and always,

Kayla Johnson
Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society
912-436-3626
kjohnson@ldssga.org
10701 Abercorn St., #60786
Savannah, GA 31420

100 Women Who Care Donate $3,500-plus to Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society

(SAVANNAH, GA) The Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society(LDSS) recently received more than $3,500 from 100 Women Who Care of Savannah.

“This generous gift will directly support the 2019 Camp Buddy program,” said LDSSExecutive Director Kayla Johnson. “Each summer, Camp Buddy offers programs to prepare children for the upcoming school year with the goal of promoting information retention from the previous year.”

Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society

(RIGHT) Lois Modell, Executive Director of Savannah Center for Blind and Low Vision, on behalf of the 100 Women Who Care, presented the donation to (LEFT) LDSS Executive Director, Kayla Johnson. The 100 Women Who Care chose LDSS as the recipients of their quarterly gift, which will be used to help fund Camp Buddy 2019.

LDSSis a nonprofit that works to help people with Down syndrome and their families through a variety of efforts.

100 Women Who Care of Savannahincludes women from Savannah and the surrounding areas who are dedicated to making an immediate impact in the community. The group meets four times a year to select one local non-profit organization to receive funding for that quarter.

For more information about LDSS, visit LDSSGA.org. For more information for 100 Women Who Care of Savannah, visit https://facebook.com/100WomenWhoCareInSavannahGa/

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. LDSSencourages people to bring their children. LDSSis an affiliate of the National Down Syndrome Society. For more information about LDSS, visit LDSSGA.org. Find LDSSon Twitter at @LowcountryDSS.

CONTACT
Kayla Johnson
Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society
912.436.3626
kjohnson@ldssga.org

MEDIA CONTACT
Marjorie Young
CarriageTrade PR
912-844-9990
marjorie@carriagetradepr.com
www.carriagetradepr.com

13th Annual Buddy Walk Hosted by the Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society Returns with a Healthy Twist

13th Annual Buddy Walk Hosted by the Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society Returns with a Healthy Twist on October 6

(SAVANNAH, GA) The Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society(LDSS) held their 13th annual Buddy Walk on Saturday, Oct. 6, in Forsyth Park.

Individuals of all ages and abilities — and their pets — were invited, especially those in wheelchairs, carriages and strollers.

LDSSofficials said they drew more than 5,000 people to this year’s walk to support individuals with Down syndrome and their families.

LOWCOUNTRY DOWN SYNDROME SOCIETY

LOWCOUNTRY DOWN SYNDROME SOCIETY

LOWCOUNTRY DOWN SYNDROME SOCIETY

LOWCOUNTRY DOWN SYNDROME SOCIETY

LOWCOUNTRY DOWN SYNDROME SOCIETY

LOWCOUNTRY DOWN SYNDROME SOCIETY

LOWCOUNTRY DOWN SYNDROME SOCIETY

“We hold the Buddy Walk every year in October as part of National Down Syndrome Awareness month,” said Tom Kenkel, president of LDSS. “Our primary goal, however, is to make positive changes in local and national policies regarding Down syndrome. This event does a phenomenal job of helping us do just that.”

A new element this year was a focus on healthy lifestyles, Kenkel said.

According to research studies in the US Library of Medicine, children with Down syndrome are at an increased risk for obesity. This could be due in part to physiological expressions of Down syndrome but also to common environmental factors.

With that in mind, LDSS, with participation from Healthy Savannah, Coca Cola, NLAWS Produce and EmployAbility, provided more nutritious lunch options and additional health education during the event.

“We are taking small steps to eventually host the first Buddy Walk in the country that brings attention to healthy lifestyles as part of the event,” Kenkel said.

A festival followed the walk featured face painting, pumpkin painting, the BOO Boutique, bouncy houses, games, music, refreshments and the Border Pawtrol disc dog team.

Sponsors of the 2018 Buddy Walk include NLaws Produce, Joe Marchese Construction, Marlow Elementary School, Coca-Cola and Holton Plumbing.

For more information on the Buddy Walk, contact Candy Bogardus at 912-436-3626, buddywalk@ldssga.orgor visit 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. LDSSencourages people to bring their children. LDSSis an affiliate of the National Down Syndrome Society. For more information about LDSS, visit http://www.ldssga.org/

CONTACT
Kayla Johnson
Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society
912-436-3626
kjohnson@ldssga.org
10701 Abercorn St., #60786
Savannah, GA 31420

MEDIA CONTACT
Cynthia Wright
Carriage Trade PR
cynthia.wright@carriagetradepr.com
912.856.9075

13th Annual Buddy Walk Hosted by the Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society Returns with a Healthy Twist on October 6

13th Annual Buddy Walk Hosted by the Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society Returns with a Healthy Twist on October 6

(SAVANNAH, GA) The Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society (LDSS) will host their 13th annual Buddy Walk on Saturday, Oct. 6, in Forsyth Park.

Families of Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society under the arch during the Buddy Walk in Savannah

Families of Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society under the arch during the Buddy Walk in Savannah

Individuals of all ages and abilities — and their pets — are invited, especially those in wheelchairs, carriages and strollers.

Last year’s event drew more than 5,000 people, and LDSS officials said they hope to attract even more to this year’s walk to support individuals with Down syndrome and their families.

“We hold the Buddy Walk every year in October as part of National Down Syndrome Awareness month,” said Tom Kenkel, president of LDSS. “Our primary goal, however, is to make positive changes in local and national policies regarding Down syndrome. This event does a phenomenal job of helping us do just that.”

A new element this year will be a focus on healthy lifestyles, Kenkel said.

According to research studies in the US Library of Medicine, children with Down syndrome are at an increased risk for obesity. This could be due in part to physiological expressions of Down syndrome but also to common environmental factors.

With that in mind, LDSS, with participation from Healthy Savannah, Coca Cola, NLAWS Produce and EmployAbility, will provide more nutritious lunch options and additional health education during the event.

“We are taking small steps to eventually host the first Buddy Walk in the country that brings attention to healthy lifestyles as part of the event,” Kenkel said.

A festival following the walk will feature face painting, pumpkin painting, the BOO Boutique, bouncy houses, games, music, refreshments and the Border Pawtrol disc dog team.

The walk begins at 10:00 a.m., and the festivities will conclude at 2:00 p.m.

Tickets for the walk will be $15 apiece or $50 for a family of four. Registration includes a T-shirt, lunch and admission to the family fun festival.

Sponsors of the 2018 Buddy Walk include NLaws Produce, Joe Marchese Construction, Marlow Elementary School, Coca-Cola and Holton Plumbing. Sponsorship opportunities are still available. Information booths can be reserved for any organization that provides services for the differently abled community.

For more information on the Buddy Walk, contact Candy Bogardus at 912-436-3626, buddywalk@ldssga.org or visit www.ldssga.org to register online.

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/

CONTACT
Kayla Johnson
Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society
912-436-3626
kjohnson@ldssga.org
10701 Abercorn St., #60786
Savannah, GA 31420

MEDIA CONTACT
Cynthia Wright
Carriage Trade PR
cynthia.wright@carriagetradepr.com
912.856.9075