Tagged: lowcountry down syndrome society

WINNERS of the 11TH ANNUAL LOWCOUNTRY DOWN SYNDROME SOCIETY NIGHT OF CHAMPIONS

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

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 2020 Champions include:

Champion: Elijah Black
“Elijah has been a clerical employee for the Effingham Country Board of Education for 5 years and is a key part of our dynamic. He is known for being a hard worker — shredding, filing and organizing for various departments — and for dressing with style and professionalism” said Dr. Ashly Hunter, Director of Exceptional Students

Champion: Matthew Redhead
Faith Equestrian Therapeutic Riding Center
Matthew had just graduated from high school when he came to work at Faith Equestrian Therapeutic Riding Center two years ago. He had a lot to learn and was shy with people, but he is now in charge of 5 therapeutic ponies, “Mr Ears” the donkey, and has made many friends as well.
Bonnie Rachael, Founder and CEO

Champion: Felita Crook
Felita has been employed with St. Joseph’s Hospital in the Dietary Department since August 1989. She helps train co-workers and has even volunteered to stay behind during hurricanes so her co-workers with small children could evacuate with their families
Ann Hopkins, Clinical Operations Manager.

Champion: Johanna Castro
Johannah’s primary responsibility is sorting, organizing and delivering mail for the entire Chatham County Sheriff’s Department — a 700,000 sq ft facility with a constantly changing population of 1800 inmates, 500 staff members and many others.
Sheriff John Wilcher.

Champion: Allison Nettles
Allison is very self sufficient — quiet, very clean, and definitely a self-starter. She is part of the crew at Friendship Coffee Company on Wilmington Island where she helps with… everything.
Gay Fortson, owner

“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 2020 Night of Champions chairman.

In addition to recognizing community Champions and their employers, the Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society presented the 2020 President’s Award to Will Howell, a Darien-based entrepreneur, and Kevin Sheehan, who heads an organization dedicated to improving the lives of differently abled people.

The 2020 Night of Champions was presented by Grainger Honda and Grainger Nissan of Savannah. The event was sponsored by the Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society (LDSS), Matson, Marchese Construction, Edwards Interiors, Rise Biscuits & Donuts, Kenkel Design, PSAV, Savannah Convention Center, Carriage Trade Public Relations.

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. Virtual meetings are held every fourth Tuesday of the month. 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

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

Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society’s Virtual Buddy Walk set for Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020

(SAVANNAH, GA) The Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society will hold its 15th annual Buddy Walk on Saturday, Oct. 3, but with a difference from past years.

“Families from throughout the region look forward to the Buddy Walk each October,” said Whitney Lowery, executive director of LDSS. “Due to COVID we had to create a virtual Buddy walk this year. We hope you can continue this tradition of walking to help raise awareness and making change.”

The 2020 Buddy Walk will kick off at 10 a.m. with virtual opening ceremonies followed by participants of all ages walking in their own locations locally, across the state and elsewhere.

The LDSS hosts the event each year to raise community awareness of the unlimited potential of people with Down syndrome and to raise funds for programs and services offered to families in the Lowcountry and surrounding areas.

Anyone who registers will receive a Buddy Walk t-shirt. Individual registration is $10.

As a new feature this year, families are encouraged to form teams for the event using the Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society’s website: https://www.classy.org/event/lowcountry-down-syndrome-society-2020-virtual-buddy-walk/e293811.

If your business or organization would like to become a sponsor for the Buddy Walk, go to www.ldssga.org or call 912-663-8573.

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
Candy Bogardus
Buddy Walk Chairperson
ldssgabuddywalk@gmail.com

MEDIA CONTACT
Marjorie Young, President
Carriage Trade PR
912-844-9990
marjorie@carriagetradepr.com

Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society (LDSS) to host the 11th Annual VIRTUAL Night of Champions

(SAVANNAH, GA) The Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society (LDSS) announces the 11th Annual VIRTUAL Night of Champions, scheduled for September 3 at 6:30pm.

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 Champions is about more than one night,” said Night of Champions chairperson Tom Kenkel. “It is about our business community being changed by the employees and their employers whose dedication and leadership highlight the possibilities and benefits of inclusive communities and workspaces.”

Selected employees and their employers will be invited as special guests to the VIRTUAL Night of Champions that will take place at 6:30pm. on Thursday, September 3, 2020, streaming live on the Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society’s Facebook page.

The 2020 winners will be announced this night, LIVE on the Facebook page.

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.

Cyreia Sandlin with WTOC will serve as the night’s emcee.

Two President’s Award honorees will also be recognized.

Donations are welcomed at https://nightofchampions.org.

For more information, call 912-436-3626 or info@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
Whitney Lowery
Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society
wlowery@ldssga.org

MEDIA CONTACT
Marjorie Young, President
Carriage Trade Public Relations®, Inc.
marjorie@carriagetradepr.com
912-844-9990

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.

14th Annual Buddy Walk Returns to Forsyth Park on Oct. 5

(SAVANNAH, GA) The Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society will hold its 14th annual Buddy Walk on Saturday, Oct. 5, in Savannah’s Forsyth Park.

 

LOWCOUNTRY DOWN SYNDROME SOCIETY

 

The Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society hosts the event each year to draw attention to the strength and needs of individuals with Down Syndrome and to offer families a fun and inclusive outdoor activity. This year’s event has a fundraising goal of $50,000.

 

Expect lots of feet on the ground, along with wheelchairs, carriages and strollers. The event has drawn thousands of attendees each year. This year Sheriff Wilcher will be the Grand Marshall for the event.

 

This marks the second year that healthy lifestyles will be a particular focus of the Buddy Walk, and the Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society has once again partnered with Healthy Savannah. Children with Down syndrome face an increased risk for obesity due in part to the syndrome but also to common environmental factors. With that in mind, nutritious lunch options and additional health education will be provided during the event.

 

A festival will follow the walk, complete with face painting, pumpkin painting, bouncy houses, games, music, refreshments and other entertainment.

 

Individual registration is $15, and alternative pricing is offered for families of different sizes. One new feature this year is encouraging families to form teams using the Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society’s website, ldssga.org.

 

“Families from throughout the region look forward to the Buddy Walk each October,” said Whitney Lowery, executive director of LDSS. “Coming together in October, which is National Down Syndrome Awareness Month, allows us to not only enjoy fellowship but helps us in our primary goal of promoting changes in local and national policies regarding Down syndrome.”

 

For more information visit ldssga.org or email buddywalk@ldss.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
Whitney Lowery
Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society
wlowery@ldssga.org

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

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

Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society Hires New Executive Director

Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society Hires New Executive Director

(SAVANNAH, GA) Kayla Johnson, former service learning coordinator at Savannah Country Day School, has been hired as the first executive director of the Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society(LDSS).

Johnson, who has developed non-profits, implemented innovative programs and leveraged strategic community partnerships, also founded and was the former director of the Zoe Foundation, Inc.

Kayla Johnson, Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society Executive Director

Kayla Johnson, Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society Executive Director

As executive director of the LDSS, she will administer the growing organization’s activities and annual events, including the Buddy Walk, the Night of Champions awards banquet and Camp Buddy.

“When I learned that LDSSwas expanding and hiring an executive director, I was thrilled for the organization’s growth and honored to be considered for the position,” Johnsonsaid. “Working with such an impactful, local organization will be a dream.”

LDSShas 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.

The LDSSboard conducted an extensive search to find someone to help grow the organization.

“We are blessed to have found someone who shares our vision for the future,” said Candy Bogardus, founding member, past president and current member of the LDSSboard. “There is an endless amount of continued good and education to come from LDSS, and Kaylahas the grace and strength to help us champion our goals of acceptance and inclusion.”

Johnson, a native of Baton Rouge, La., earned a bachelor of arts in communication from Louisiana Tech University and a master of arts in communication from the University of Arkansas. She and her husband, Clay, have three children.

“After spending the past year exploring New Jersey, we are delighted to return to our second home, Savannah,” Johnsonsaid. “Our homecoming is sweetened just knowing the wonderful crew of LDSSis welcoming us into their network of good. I am very thankful.”

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

LDSS Announces Camp Buddy 2018 in Chatham, Effingham

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.

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 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.

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/

Chatham Camp Buddy Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society 2017

Campers enjoy Chatham Camp Buddy 2017

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
Tom Kenkel
Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society
912-373-6377
tkenkel@ldssga.org

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

9th Annual Night of Champions Honors Differently-abled Working Adults and Their Employers

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.

Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society Night of Champions 2018

Selected from among 15 nominees, six “Champions” and their employers were honored:

Jabari Tukes
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.

Herbert Hudson
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.

Elissa Brown
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.

Marquis Smith
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.

Iyaona Weathers
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.

Caroline Campbell
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.

The 2018 Night of Champions was sponsored by Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society, the Savannah International Trade & Convention Center, Marchese Construction, Matson, and Coastal Electric of Georgia.

For more information, contact champions@ldssga.org or visit https://ldssga.org

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/

CONTACT
Tom Kenkel
President, Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society
tkenkel@ldssga.org

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

Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society Announces 2018 Board of Directors

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.

LDSS is also a community partner for the JOY prom, an event held annually to offer differently-abled adults a night of dancing, food, friendship, and fun.

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/

CONTACT
Candy Bogardus
cbogardus@ldssga.org
912-663-8573

MEDIA CONTACT
Cynthia Wright
Carriage Trade Public Relations®
912.856.9075
www.carriagetradepr.com
cynthia.wright@carriagetradepr.com

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 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.

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
Jmarchese@ldssga.org
Cell: 912-213-9999
http://www.ldssga.org

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 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.

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

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

CONTACT
Tom Kenkel
tkenkel@ldssga.org
912-373-6377

MEDIA CONTACT
Cynthia Wright
Carriage Trade Public Relations®
912.856.9075
www.carriagetradepr.com
cynthia.wright@carriagetradepr.com

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

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.

Joe Marchese

Joe Marchese

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.”

Ariella Scalese

Ariella Scalese

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.

Gala Logo

2018 Hearts for Healing Gala

The gala is the center’s largest fundraiser of the year and helps cover the costs for children to participate in the Faith Equestrian program.

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

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