Amazing Things are Happening with DSIA!
Guest Message from Lisa Lindsey, Ph.D.
Over the last few years DSIA’s Board of Directors and part-time Program Coordinator have worked diligently to make DSIA a strong grassroots movement for our local Down syndrome community. Below I outline just a few of our many accomplishments.
As President of the Board of Directors, I was thrilled to launch many new programs over the last year with the much-appreciated help from Heather Green (DSIA’s program coordinator), Board members, and our amazing volunteers. Here’s some of the accomplishments of which I am most proud:
- How do you like our new Website?! Our new Website sets the tone for who we are as an organization and, more importantly, a community. It features resources for parents, educators, and medical professionals; a blog that will periodically feature guest posts about topics important to our community; a comprehensive events page; information on our many programs, including our Parent-to-Parent Program; and many other features. My hope is that this site will be a valuable tool for our community.
- Parent-to-Parent Program – The P2P committee worked hard to get this off the ground. We reviewed myriad parent-support programs from great Down syndrome organizations across the country. In the end, DSIA developed a new Parent Guide, extensively trained over 20 Parent Mentors, has continued developing and strengthening our ties with local hospitals, doctors’ offices, and labor & delivery staff (to name a few), and has provided much-needed support to families who receive a new diagnosis of Down syndrome by matching them with Parent Mentors. Check out the program – it’s awesome.
- Programs for Self-Advocates – For a long time DSIA has wanted to increase programs and activities for teen and adult self-advocates. I appreciate greatly all of you who responded to our survey about the types of activities you’d like to see. I was so happy when our adult and teen pizza nights were such a success that they will continue in the future and be a great opportunity for friends and families to hang out and have fun. Also, our first dance lesson night was a huge hit! These are just a few examples of the kinds of programs/activities DSIA would like to continue for self-advocates.
- Partnership with UC Davis Cancer Center – This new partnership is just getting underway. The goal is to develop a program and resources for families who have a child with Down syndrome who is diagnosed with cancer – not only will this benefit local families, but also families who travel from all over to receive treatment and can now be connected with our local community! I am grateful to my long-time friend and colleague, Dr. Marlene von Frienderics-Fitzwater (the Directory of Outreach Programs for UCDCC), who is working with Heather to get this program off the ground.
DSIA has done so many wonderful things for our community, I cannot possibly list them all!
Welcoming New Leadership
Because of all DSIA has accomplished, and all of the amazing relationships I built over the last few years, it was with a heavy heart that I stepped down as President and submitted my resignation from DSIA’s Board of Directors. It is with a grateful and joyful heart that I announce Heather Green – a founding member of DSIA – has taken over the reigns seamlessly!
I feel very strongly and passionately about DSIA’s mission, vision, and everything DSIA does to create a stronger, more-connected, and empowered community. A small handful of people (from the very beginning!) built an amazing organization that is responsive to the Down syndrome community, works tirelessly to raise awareness in the broader community, and has the potential to be the greatest resource for self-advocates and their families, friends, and people who serve them (e.g., educators, medical professionals). I am confident that Heather will be an amazing leader in these efforts moving forward.
I am grateful for the friendships that have developed and been nurtured through my participation with DSIA. And I am so proud of everything DSIA has accomplished so far. I am confident that Heather, the Board, and our amazing volunteers will only take us UP from here!