Letter from Jeremie Ballinger, Executive Director
This letter reaches you as we’re gearing up for the biggest day in the St. Louis Down syndrome community. Step Up for Down Syndrome is just around the corner on June 8 at Forest Park!
If you haven’t been to SUDS…well, why not? Our volunteers and staff have worked hard over the years to make our Step Up walk a wonderful experience for everyone involved. We also have a couple new surprises planned this year that you’ve never seen at SUDS before!
Why Step Up this year, or any year, you ask? It’s pretty simple. This walk is responsible for nearly half of the support DSAGSL counts on every year. In other words:
– Because of this walk, we welcome dozens of new families to our organization every year with information, baskets, events and a supporting community that cares.
– Because of this walk, we’ve trained over 100 teachers this year and are planning to take our training to several new communities in 2014. We’re also going to educate more doctors, nurses and other medical staff than we ever have.
– Because of this walk, self-advocates will learn to ride a bike for the first time – and at a younger age than we’ve ever offered. They’ll play sports. They’ll learn healthy habits and behaviors. They’ll lobby more than ever for laws that benefit them.
– And because of this walk, you’ll see info in this newsletter about new programming for toddlers, teens and adults at our office this summer and fall. Our vision has always been to be the most comprehensive resource for individuals with Down syndrome. It’s finally happening thanks to you walking with us!
The other vitally important reason to attend SUDS is that this walk is the largest awareness event our city has for children and adults with Down syndrome. It’s our best chance to show St. Louis that individuals with Down syndrome are loving, talented, kind-hearted people who change every person fortunate enough to cross their path. This comes as no surprise to all of the advocates, parents, siblings and friends who read this newsletter. But not everyone gets it. SUDS is our chance to make that statement in a big way.
Hope to see you there!