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This Week
Apply Now for Historic Falmouth Road Race
MDSC Seeks Summer Communications Intern
AIM: Out of the Swimming Pool and into the Job Pool
Rock'N'Dock Festival
Annual CJs Spring Swing
DADS Family Outing
State Budget Moves to Senate
"Signing Time!" Returns to Buddy Walk
Complete Ed Conference Archives Available
MDSC Plays Host to Japan Public Television
Calling for Education Photos
April 29 , 2013 | No. 19
New & Expectant Parents
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Apply Now for Historic Falmouth Road Race 

Once again, the MDSC has secured 25 non-profit numbers for the historic Falmouth Road Race along the pristine Cape Cod coastline. 


Now it's your chance to run on this amazing 7-mile course, and follow in the footsteps of past winners, like legends Bill Rodgers, Joan Benoit, Frank Shorter, and Alberto Salazar. 


The event, in its 41st year, will be held August 11, 2013. Join the cause for a fun day on the Cape that will make a difference in the lives of people with Down syndrome and their families. 


Go here for an application. For more information email MDSC Executive Assistant Jacquie Sherman at

MDSC Seeking Summer
Communications Intern

The MDSC is looking for a Strategic Online Communications Intern to join our team for the summer, and learn skills that will serve him/her well going forward. 


The 15-hour/week position will help the MDSC achieve our mission by bolstering our media presence, forging online connections with key allies, and assisting with messaging consistent with our brand and identity standards. 


He/she will also assist with traditional media outreach, such as writing press releases and pitching stories to newspapers, radio and television stations. This position is unpaid, though a work-study arrangement is possible. 


See here for complete description. 

AIM: Out of Swimming Pool and into Job Pool


On Sunday April 7, AIM'sTeen and Young Adult Program participants jumped into the swimming pool at the West Suburban YMCA, where they worked hard on their kayaking skills with instructors from Waypoint Adventures. 


Youth learned about the different parts of the kayak, paddled in the indoor pool, and even flipped their kayak to learn how to stay safe in dangerous waters. Some attendees were veterans of kayaking while others were newbies, but everyone had a great time. Most importantly, everyone challenged themselves and discovered new strengths.  We look forward to more challenges in the future!


Speaking of which, the next AIM event is on Sunday, May 19th from 12:30-3:30pm at the West Suburban YMCA in Newton. As summer approaches, you may be thinking of applying for a summer job or volunteer position. This session will provide participants with an opportunity to develop some resume and interviewing skills. We will also have a visit from music therapist, Suzie Denu, so get ready to sing and dance! Please send us some names of your favorite songs.  Attendees can also bring along real job applications for practice.

Email with any questions.



2nd Annual Rock'N'Dock Festival May 30 - June 2


At the end of May/beginning of June, Patriot Place in Foxboro will be jumping with dogs - literally. That's when the 2nd Annual "Jumping Up for Down Syndrome" Festival, organized by Dave Skoletsky of Go Team 21, comes to town


Three world-record holding dogs will perform, including Dave's own Yeager, the canine world-record holder for vertical leap, all to raise funds and awareness for Down syndrome (Dave's daughter Eve has Down syndrome). You may remember them from an unbelievable performance last October during our Buddy Walk.


The first night features a Down syndrome benefit concert featuring Nashville recording artist,five-time Boston Music Awards Best Folk Artist, singer/songwriter Lori McKenna. See here for more information.  

Save the Date: June 7 for Annual CJs Spring Swing


Every year since 2004, Sandra, Sean and CJ Buckley (pictured) have hosted a golf tournament and auction that raises much-needed funds to support programs and individuals dedicated to improving the lives of children and adults with Down syndrome. 


The MDSC is proud to be one of those organizations. This year, join the Buckleys and support these organizations on June 7 for the 9th Annual CJ's Spring Swing. It will be held at the New England Country Club in Bellingham, Mass. 


For more information, contact the Buckleys at

Save the Date: D.A.D.S. Family Outing on June 16


The Dads Appreciating Down Syndrome (D.A.D.S) annual Family Outing at Kimball Farm in Westford will be held Sunday June 16.  


The cost is $10/person for those 2 years and above. The cost will include some activities. Details are being finalized, Kimball Farm features an 18-hole mini-golf course, bumper boat rides, batting cages, a driving range, arcade, sand volleyball court, horseshoe pitch and tug of war pit. 


D.A.D.S, a proud affiliate of the MDSC, will have its own tent for the more than 300 anticipated attendees. 


Contact Jeff Roback at 339-788-1460 or

Boston Marathon: Grieving yet Grateful
Two "Team MDSC" runners, James Davis and Jeffrey Pransky, were featured in stories in the Boston Globe, one before the race and one after. The second story was called


Last Monday, one week after the horrific events at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, the MDSC joined people across the Commonwealth and beyond in a moment of silence to remember those lost and injured.  


We continue to mourn those killed, stand with those in recovery and feel grateful that members of our immediate MDSC community - including our 14 runners, their loved ones, and our Cheering Section supporters - were spared. 


The repercussions of this tragedy will be felt for weeks, months, and years. But, the terrifying events also shined a light on how connected we are. We will not soon forget how our members checked in on one another, offered to help in any way possible, and came together as one big family.    


One example is Pamela Sandonato, Vice President of Development for our national partner, the National Down Syndrome Society, who was one of the many who reached out to us. Here is what she wrote: 


I have been thinking about all of you non-stop. I had read the MDSC tweet earlier in the day about the cheering location and felt complete elation (and a little jealousy) about the day you had ahead of you - American pride and Down syndrome pride at the same time. Whatever the opposite of that feeling is (panic, anger, shock) is how I felt when I made that call to you moments after I learned of the attack. Thankfully you and your greater community are okay.  


Like many of you, we are still grappling with everything that happened, and looking for the best, healthiest way to move forward. One thing that is eminently important to us is making sure that our Team MDSC - those runners who sacrificed so much and worked so hard to help people with Down syndrome - are both honored and taken care of. On May 6, at our office, we will be holding a special private event for these heroes and their families to come together and share in a safe, supportive environment.


If you haven't already, please read Executive Director Maureen Gallagher's letter to the membership, Making Sense of the Marathon, recognizing the contribution of our Team MDSC members.


House Budget Supports Continued Down Syndrome Funding; Now onto Senate 


The House wrapped up its budget deliberations last week with positive news for the Down syndrome community. The final House budget includes $100,000 of critical funding for the MDSC and its programs. We want to thank the leadership of Ways & Means Chair Brian Dempsey (right), members of his committee and other House leaders. 


The major improvement during the latest round of budget negotiations was the House leadership's decision to add $7.5 million for a one-time salary reserve bonus for direct support human service workers earning less than $40,000. Now the budget moves to the Senate, led by the Senate Ways & Means Committee and its Chair Stephen Brewer. We expect them to release their budget May 15. We are pushing for the following line-items: 

  • Turning 22 Transition Services
  • Family Support and Respite Care
  • Residential Services Funding
  • Autism Waiver and DESE-DDS Program
  • Salary Reserve 

Please reach out to your senator to ask for their support on these disability line items, especially if your senator is on the Ways & Means Committee. See committee members here.  

'Signing Time!' Returns for 17th Buddy Walk & Family Festival; 'Sign Up' Now

We are thrilled to welcome back to our Buddy Walk stage in 2013 Rachel Coleman of "Signing Time!", the television program that teaches children basic American Sign Language in a fun, engaging way. 


Anyone who saw her in past years remembers her unbelievable stage presence and ability to connect and interact with members of our audience while teaching sign language. Coleman has been nominated for an Emmy in the "Outstanding Performer in a Children's Series" category.  She is not only the face of the program; she also produces and directs the series.



In 2013, building on the theme of this year's Annual Conference, we have dubbed our 17th Annual Buddy Walk & Family Festival the "Walk for Real Lives." Like our Real Lives Conference, the name stems from the "Real Lives Bill," the critical piece of state legislation that promises to give people with Down syndrome and other disabilities more control over the their funds and their lives. 


Same Lead Sponsor, Better Name, More Lunch Options

This year, we are happy to welcome back our lead sponsor, Verizon. But they are no longer sponsoring our Buddy Walk & Family Picnic.... It's now the Buddy Walk & Festival! Why? We felt that our previous name didn't quite describe the "festival" atmosphere and the variety of entertainment offerings - live performances, face-painting, music-making, climbing trucks, etc. - that our Buddy Walk now boasts. That is why it is now more accurately called the Buddy Walk & Family Festival. 


Second, in response to demands for more variety in the food offerings, we are launching a new lunch program. Rather than include lunch in the cost of registration, we are giving you more control over your lunch options. You can reserve a bagged lunch when you register for an additional cost, or you can buy food from private vendors who will be on site throughout the event. 


The MDSC Buddy Walk Program is New England's largest public awareness platform to promote acceptance and inclusion of people with Down syndrome. The Buddy Walk & Family Festival, our signature walk, takes place during National Down Syndrome Awareness Month and draws in 4,000 people to celebrate our community and support the important work of the MDSC. 


We ask that all walkers, ages 13 and up, strive to reach the $150 fundraising minimum by October 31st. Your fundraising efforts are critical to our mission and directly impact programs and services that provide hope to new and expectant parents, training to medical professionals and students, best practices to educators, opportunities for teens and adults, and a strong voice on Capitol Hill.
Complete Northeast Down Syndrome Ed Conference Archives Available Online



On Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, 2012, the MDSC hosted the first-ever Northeast Down Syndrome Education Conference in Burlington, Mass. More than 400 people from 25 states and 6 countries attended. 


The conference featured speakers from Down Syndrome Education International of the United Kingdom, widely recognized as the world's leading experts in Down syndrome education.




For a limited time, the complete recordings, including all 6 keynotes and 18 hour-long workshops are available for only $39.99 for those who attended the conference and $69.99 for non-attendees. These are professional recordings packed with useful information on all education-related topics for parents, educators, and others interested in best practices in educating students with Down syndrome. 



Please Note: Viewing on a Firefox browser may present difficulties. For best viewing results use one of the following browsers - Safari, Internet Explorer or Google Chrome. These are all available as free downloads on the Internet (by a simple Google search).

MDSC Plays Host to Japan Public TV      
During the past several weeks, the MDSC has been playing host to the Japanese Public Television Network, NHK, which is working on a comprehensive show about Down syndrome. 
Non-invasive prenatal tests, which have been available on a limited basis in the U.S. for over a year, are just being launched in Japan. Also, as a society, parents in Japan are just starting to learn how to celebrate Down syndrome, and they feel they can learn a lot from the MDSC's programs. 
They have been shadowing our staff, activities and partners across the state, filming an MDSC New Parent Social, our Boston Marathon Cheering Section, a Self-Advocate Advisory Council meeting, a Parent's First Call training, and an MDSC Medical Provider Training at Cape Cod Hospital as well as interviewing key MDSC members. 
We are thrilled that we are looked upon as an example of an organization that is creating forward-thinking opportunities for people with Down syndrome and to be a model for other organizations and societies around the world! Needless to say, we are very excited to see the final product. We will keep you apprised.

Calling for Your Education/Inclusion Photos for our Educator's Manual


The MDSC Education Task Force is looking for pictures of elementary school children (grades K-6) with Down syndrome to include in our first Educators' Manual. The Task Force has been working on the comprehensive Educator's Manual for more than two years, and now it is almost ready to go to print..... except we need more photos!


The Manual includes best practices to guide educators in making the accommodations and adaptations necessary to best teach students with Down syndrome.


Your pictures of your loved ones learning will bring the manual to life. Please complete this photo release form for each individual pictured (including your own child, other children, classmates or educators).


Here are some ideas of what your child might be doing: reading, writing, working with math problems, at the computer, using an augmentative device, signing, working in a small group, listening to a story, talking to friends, at their kindergarten graduation, doing a presentation, getting on the bus, eating lunch with friends, attending a school assembly, participating in an after-school/extra-curricular event, working on an art project, in music class, on the school playground, in gym class. 





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