#CCHACares: Down Syndrome Indiana

POST DATE: 3.20.24
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CCHA Law is excited each month to showcase organizations that improve the lives of our communities and those who live in them. There are many deserving organizations, and this month, we are excited to spotlight Down Syndrome Indiana. World Down Syndrome Day occurs each year on March 21st. Down syndrome is the triplication of the 21st chromosome, hence 3/21 is the day to celebrate awareness globally.

Down Syndrome Indiana is a nonprofit organization whose vision is to make Indiana a more inclusive place for individuals with Down syndrome to work, live, and thrive. They fulfill this mission and vision by supporting individuals with Down syndrome and their families, building and fostering community among families and individuals, and through outreach and education.

About Down Syndrome Indiana

Over a quarter of a century ago, Down Syndrome Indiana embarked on a mission to enrich the lives of individuals with Down syndrome. Founded by parents driven by a vision for a more inclusive Indiana, the organization strives to create an environment where individuals with Down syndrome can work, live, and flourish.

This parent-founded initiative is dedicated to achieving its mission through various avenues:

  • Providing Accessible Information: Down Syndrome Indiana is committed to offering accurate resources and information on Down syndrome to caregivers, professionals, and the community at large.

  • Supporting Parents: The organization offers invaluable support to parents through initiatives like free New Parent Packets, Resources for New Parents, Resources for Current Parents, Free Webinars, and the First Call Program.

  • Programs for All Ages: Down Syndrome Indiana hosts programs tailored for both children and adults with Down syndrome, such as The Learning Program, The Circles Curriculum, 321go!, and Live Laugh Dance.

  • Continuing Education: The organization provides continuing education opportunities focusing on the specific needs and desires of individuals with Down syndrome and their caregivers. Additionally, free educational presentations are offered to students, health professionals, educators, and community professionals.

  • Community Building: Down Syndrome Indiana actively brings the community together through free group activities and awareness events. Those interested in participating in community groups can find more information at https://dsindiana.org/communitygroups/.

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Down Syndrome Indiana serves not only individuals with Down syndrome and their families but also professionals working with them and community members at large. Covering 44 counties in central Indiana, the organization welcomes everyone to engage in its programming and events, emphasizing an inclusive approach to its mission.

CCHA’s Libby Roberts Supports Down Syndrome Indiana

“DSI provides support and education to parents and families from the moment they learn that their child is diagnosed with Down syndrome. It continues to provide support through every stage of life, said Libby Roberts, Partner at CCHA Law. “I most enjoy volunteering with DSI as part of its self advocate program. In that program, DSI provides adults with Down syndrome with training and tools to be their own advocate in daily life and at work. Every DSI event I attend is well organized to connect parents, children, and adults and to strengthen their networks and support systems. There is no better place to laugh and let loose than at a DSI dance party.”

At Down Syndrome Indiana’s Halloween event, Libby volunteered as a fortune teller.

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Libby attending Down Syndrome Indiana’s Christmas Party with her goddaughter, Lily.

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Upcoming Down Syndrome Indiana Events

World Down Syndrome Day Dance Party | March 21, 2024

Down Syndrome Indiana and GiGi’s Playhouse Indianapolis will host a rockin’ Dance Party on World Down Syndrome Day. Dance the night away, get pictures on the red carpet, do crafts, enjoy cookies and drinks, and more!

Time: 6:00 – 6:30 – Sensory Friendly Dance Party

Time: 6:30 – 8:00 – WDSD Dance Party

Location: Murat Shrine Arabian Room (510 N New Jersey St, Indianapolis, IN 46204

Registration: Register your family at https://forms.office.com/r/sgtLxicYqR

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To spread awareness about World Down Syndrome Day in your community, school, or place of employment, Down Syndrome Indiana offers a Down Syndrome Awareness Toolkit. Visit their website to download resources for parents, educators, and social media assets for anyone interested in sharing on their social media pages.

Buddy Walk® Indianapolis | October 5, 2024

Save the date for the annual Buddy Walk® Indianapolis on October 5, 2024.

The Buddy Walk® is Down Syndrome Indiana's premier fundraising and advocacy event, uniting individuals to celebrate Down syndrome. Everyone is invited to come together and participate in this celebration that promotes acceptance and inclusion of people with Down syndrome!

Register for the Buddy Walk® Indianapolis here.

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How to support Down Syndrome Indiana

There are many ways to support Down Syndrome Indiana including volunteering your time through various volunteer opportunities or supporting the organization financially.

Volunteer Opportunities

Down Syndrome Indiana thrives on the invaluable contributions of dedicated volunteers, who play an important role in supporting its mission. Volunteer opportunities exist whether you are looking to make a difference in the office or participate in events and programs.

  • Self-Advocate Volunteer Opportunities: self-advocates can meet at the office Monday-Thursday, from 9 AM to 2 PM to get involved in administrative tasks and various DSI projects. Reach out to volunteer@dsindiana.org to schedule.

  • Program and Event Volunteer Opportunities: Volunteers interested in making a positive impact at special programs and events can reach out to volunteer@dsindiana.org or fill out the form on their website to express your interest in ongoing volunteer opportunities.

  • Internships and Capstone Opportunities: Down Syndrome Indiana values the energy and fresh perspectives that students bring to their organization. Whether you're an undergraduate or a doctoral candidate, they appreciate and encourage student internships. Reach out directly to volunteer@dsindiana.org to explore capstone and internship projects, schedules, and opportunities.

Financial Support

Additional support for Down Syndrome Indiana can be done through direct and indirect financial donations:

Policy and Advocacy

Down Syndrome Indiana is committed to following both statewide and national legislation that would directly impact individuals with Down syndrome and their families. They have volunteer opportunities at the community, state, and national levels. If you are interested in getting more involved with policy, visit their website to learn more.