DSACT's 2018 Impact Report

DSACT's 2018 Impact Report

2018 was an incredible year at DSACT! We are happy to share our 2018 Impact Report here - showcasing the many events, programs, education series, outreach opportunities, and community partnerships we brought to DSACT members. Please take a look, and thank you to all who made 2018 such a great year. We know 2019 will be even better!

3/21 in Austin - Down Syndrome Association of Central Texas Day

3/21 in Austin - Down Syndrome Association of Central Texas Day

Down Syndrome Association of Central Texas Executive Director Jennifer A. Edwards wrote the following op-ed to local media regarding the importance of community-wide recognition of World Down Syndrome Day and Austin Mayor Steve Adler’s proclamation of 3/21/2019 as “Down Syndrome Association of Central Texas Day.”

LEAVE NO ONE BEHIND ON 3/21 – World Down Syndrome Day
By Jennifer A. Edwards, Executive Director
Down Syndrome Association of Central Texas

March 21 is World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD), a global awareness day officially observed by the United Nations since 2012. The UN acknowledges, “All people with Down syndrome must have opportunities to live fulfilling lives, included on a full and equal basis with others, in all aspects of society,” and envisions a future in which “no one will be left behind.”

This year, the City of Austin has declared March 21 as Down Syndrome Association of Central Texas Day.

Down syndrome, also known as Trisomy 21, occurs when a person is born with three copies of chromosome 21 instead of two. Hence, 3/21 is “our” day.

In the United States, nearly one in 700 babies is born with Down syndrome. Most function in the mild to moderate range of cognitive impairment, with common physical traits including small stature, low muscle tone, and an upward slant to the eyes.

Though they’re at increased risk for congenital heart defects, respiratory and hearing problems, Alzheimer’s disease, childhood leukemia, and thyroid conditions, most people with Down syndrome live healthy lives. The average lifespan of a person with Down syndrome has increased to 60 years, compared to just 25 years in 1983. 

Yet many misconceptions surrounding Down syndrome still exist. It is a genetic condition, not a disease. People do not “suffer from it” nor are they “victims.” It has nothing to do with race, nationality, socioeconomic status, religion, or anything the mother or father did during pregnancy.

Down Syndrome Association of Central Texas (DSACT) wants to fully dispel the myths about Down syndrome. Established in 1991, DSACT is the only organization in Austin and its surrounding counties providing programs and services for individuals with Down syndrome, their families, educators and the medical community. By providing new parent support, educational outreach, and medical outreach, as well as investment in scientific research, DSACT seeks to bring Austinites a greater understanding of what Down syndrome is and isn’t. 

We also honor educators, like Lindsay Davis of Barton Creek Elementary School in Eanes ISD and Dana Barton, Randi Reyes, Krissy Anderson, and Janet Mormon of Frost Elementary School in Georgetown ISD, whose dedication to students with Down syndrome inspires us.

DSACT envisions a world in which all members, including those with Down syndrome, are accepted, valued for their uniqueness, respected for their abilities and contributions, and assured the opportunity and choice to create their own path to fulfillment and success. And while we want to leave no one behind, we’re concerned that there are people in our community with Down syndrome who need help and aren’t getting it.

Surprisingly, the population of people in the U.S. with Down syndrome is currently unknown. However, one third of Americans know someone with Down syndrome. If you know someone with Down syndrome, please encourage them or their family to contact DSACT.  We’d love to welcome them into our community and offer our support and resources. 

On this World Down Syndrome Day, let us commit to welcoming people with Down syndrome into every area of our community. DSACT, in partnership with Down syndrome communities from across Texas, will gather at the State Capitol as both the House and Senate recognize the significance of WDSD. Here at home in Central Texas, help us in our DSACT mission to embrace and support every person with Down syndrome. Let us all fulfill the United Nations pledge to “leave no one behind.”

Learn more at www.dsact.org or contact Jennifer Edwards at Jennifer.edwards@dsact.org.

World Down Syndrome Day at the Texas Capitol

World Down Syndrome Day at the Texas Capitol

Members of the Down syndrome community from across Texas will gather at the Texas Capitol on Thursday, March 21, 2019, for World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD). WDSD is a global awareness day which has been officially observed by the United Nations since 2012, observed annually on March 21 (3/21) in recognition of the triplication of chromosome 21, which characterizes Down syndrome.

This year, families, advocates, educators, and others will spend the day meeting with their local state representatives to discuss issues and legislation of interest, accepting a proclamation from the Texas House of Representatives and the Texas Senate, acknowledging March 21 as Down Syndrome Awareness Day, and joining Texas Advocates’ rally on the Capitol steps at 11am.

Press Release: DSACT Hires New Executive Director

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 28, 2019

MEDIA CONTACT:
Phil West, Orange Cone Agency
512.769.3838, phil.west@orangeconeagency.com

JENNIFER EDWARDS NAMED EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF DOWN SYNDROME ASSOCIATION OF CENTRAL TEXAS

The Down Syndrome Association of Central Texas, providing an array of programs for individuals with Down syndrome and their families throughout Central Texas, is proud to announce it has named Jennifer Edwards its new Executive Director.

Edwards, most recently Chief Executive Officer with Literacy Texas, will lead the non-profit organization serving the Down syndrome community in a ten-county area including Austin and surrounding cities. Edwards will be taking over for Cameron LaHaise, who served as DSACT Executive Director for 5 ½ years, and recently relocated to the Boston metro area to take an executive position with the Harvard Business School.

“I’m excited for the opportunity to lead this vital non-profit organization,” said Edwards. “DSACT has been instrumental in welcoming parents of children with Down syndrome into an engaged and supportive community, and provides resources, programs, and support that enriches people with Down syndrome and their families at all phases of their lives. Through the annual Buddy Walk and Cocktail Bash events, DSACT also connects this vibrant community to people throughout Central Texas.”

DSACT is currently gearing up for its 2019 edition of its annual Cocktail Bash on Wednesday, April 3, at the 800 Congress event venue in downtown Austin. Last year’s event generated funds to support DSACT’s diverse programming, including its popular summer Bike Camp.

 

ABOUT DSACT

The Down Syndrome Association of Central Texas, founded in 1991, provides education, support, and resources to individuals with Down syndrome, their families, and affiliated professionals and community members throughout Central Texas, while building public awareness and acceptance of the abilities of individuals with Down syndrome. DSACT envisions a world in which all people, including those with Down syndrome, are accepted, valued for their uniqueness, respected for their abilities and contributions, and assured the opportunity and choice to create their own path to fulfillment and success.