August 2019
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Upcoming Parents First Call Programming

Families of Children with Down Syndrome & Special Health Care Needs - The MDSC is proud to continue our collaboration with the Down Syndrome Program at Boston Children's Hospital for our "Families of Children with Down syndrome and Special Health Care Needs" Support Group. All family members welcome as volunteers available for children's recreation and support.

The next meeting will be September 28 @ Boston Children's Hospital Waltham location - contact

Our topic will be "Behavior and Down syndrome. "

All are welcome! Please note - This is an RSVP EVENT ONLY *RSVP to*. Childcare is limited and is by RSVP ONLY

Come help us learn how to best support your needs, network with other families, share resources, and meet staff from both MDSC and the Children's Hospital Down Syndrome Program at our Families of Children with Down syndrome and Special Health Care Needs Support Group

Refreshments will be served (please let us know with RSVP if you need gluten free or other dietary accommodations).

New Family Social on Saturday, 
Oct 5, from 10 to Noon

Our New Family Social (NFS) last weekend brought together over 60 individuals, including  an expectant couple, grandparents, a family from Qatar, and some first-time families!  

Mark your calendar for our next NFS on Oct. 5. Families of children with Down syndrome three years old (up to 4th birthdays) and younger, as well as expectant families, are warmly invited to join us for the informal get-together with light refreshments! 

RSVP by messaging Katy Newman at or Sarah Cullen at

Our regular New Family Socials are opportunities for new families to meet each other for an informal get-together with light refreshments! Come learn how other families do it and find out more about the MDSC and our helpful resources.

WHERE: 20 Burlington Mall Road, Burlington, MA (our driveway is directly across from the Burlington Marriott -park behind building, enter through main door for #20, elevator on right down to lower level, down hall for meeting area)

Community Fundraisers...

Cafe Sarina

On August 3, Staci and Stephen Flynn held a Grand Opening for their new restaurant, Cafe Sarina, in Georgetown, which doubled as a fundraiser for their Team Sarina Buddy Walk Team. 

The Flynns, whose beautiful 8-year-old daughter Sarina has Down syndrome, celebrated the occasion with special treats from the bakery and cafe, giveaways, a 50/50 raffle, and the rare chance to take your photo with the Red Sox World Series Trophy...all while supporting the MDSC Buddy Walk ProgramĀ® and raise awareness. 

Drink for a Cause!
Four members of our 2019 Falmouth Road Team have been busy this summer not only training for the race, but organizing a fundraiser at Redemption Rock Brewing in Worcester on August 11. 

Through the event, dubbed "Drink for a Cause," Laurie and Tim Richer, Jackie Ferreer and Julie Bowditch are raising vital funds for Team Josh, in honor of Laurie and Tim's son, Josh, and  to help promote acceptance, inclusion and advocacy for individuals with Down syndrome, 

They invite you to join them to win some awesome prizes! Kiddos are welcome and dogs are allowed in the brewery but NOT on the turf area where we will be partying (unless they are therapy pets).

Go here for full details.

You Too Can Community Fundraise Through MDSC's Helping Hands Program.  Do you want to help raise money for the MDSC? All you need is the desire to help and the MDSC can help you leverage an existing event or work with you on a fundraising idea that you're passionate about. Get Your Helping Hands Toolkit
D.A.D.S. Tees Up Davis Farmland & Golf Event

D.A.D.S. is heading to Davis Farmland/Zero Depth Water Park!!!
Come celebrate summer with Dads Appreciating Down Syndrome (D.A.D.S.) of Massachusetts, an affiliate of MDSC, on Sunday, August 18, as we head to Davis Farmland (145 Redstone Hill, Sterling, Ma.) at 10:00am. Cost per person is $15 (under age 2 is free, and is non-refundable, unless we have to reschedule). Please contact Jeffry Roback at to reserve your spots and get payment information. Payment will not be accepted on the day of the event and is due no later than August 10. Please indicate age(s) of children when you register.

Davis Farmland is a discovery farm for families of children 12 and under. Food is not included with the price but is available for purchase (you may bring in food, they have sheltered picnic tables).

Annual Golf Outing
DADS invites you to its upcoming 10th Annual D.A.D.S. Golf Tournament.  Please join us on Sunday, September 8, with a shotgun start at 1pm, at Easton Country Club in Easton, MA. Please consider golfing with us, sponsoring a hole, making a donation for a raffle, or donating your time to help. Please see here to register and for complete information
'A Full Life Ahead' returns 2019-2020
The MDSC, in partnership with Mass Families Organizing for Change (MFOFC) and Riverside Community Care, will host the 'A Full Life Ahead' workshop series once again this year. 

Workshops cover transition, employment, housing, relationships, and other topics that will lead to interdependent, full lives in the community. 

2019-2020 Dates:
October 8
November 13
March 11
April 8
May 13

Our first workshop on October 8, Navigating the ISP, will welcome speaker Hilary Dunn Stanisz, Esq. from the Disability Law Center. More details coming soon!
MDSCers participate in "Think College" Panel

MDSCers Brian Heffernan and Matthew Cullen (left and 2nd from left) were part of a Think College panel at a TPSID (Transition and Postsecondary Programs for Students with Intellectual Disability) conference this week. Along with Julia Landau of Massachusetts Advocates for Children, Maximo Pimental, and Tom Sannicandro, they talked about the benefits to everyone of students with ID/DD attending college and how it can happen through MA's Inclusive Concurrent Enrollment program (MAICE).

In fact, MDSC's top legislative priority is to bolster and provide more funding for higher education opportunities through the MAICE program. More on this and our other Statewide policy priorities here.

Great job everyone!
Education Guidance Available for Families

At the MDSC, we understand the importance of peer-to-peer support and the value of personal connections, especially for parents as they work to advocate on behalf of their child at school.

If you are a parent of a child with Down syndrome and are seeking resources and guidance related to education, you are welcome to contact Kristen Tenglin, the MDSC Membership Services Coordinator, at She will pair you with a trained Education Resource Parent Volunteer.

This trained resource parent will then connect with you at a mutually convenient time and provide applicable resources - including MDSC fact sheets and webinar materials - in collaboration with the Membership Services Coordinator.
EchoStor Sox campaign donates $14K to MDSC

Once again, we were honored that our friends at EchoStor Technologies, through their HITS campaign, donated $50 per Boston Red Sox hit to MDSC throughout the month of July! 

Despite the shortened schedule because of the All Star break, Sox bats were hot. Even so, when all was said and done, EchoStor went above and beyond and offered to donate $14,000 for our loved ones with Down syndrome. 

Thank you Scott Trinque and John Dooley for supporting our programs and services for our loved ones with Down syndrome. 
State & Federal Public Policy
State FY20 Budget Positive for Disability Community; Act Now on Marriage Access Bill

State's FY20 Budget overwhelmingly positive for our community
Great news out of Beacon Hill for our loved ones with Down syndrome and other intellectual disabilities! 

The FY2020 budget process, beginning with Governor Baker's extremely positive blueprint, followed by additional appropriations in House and Senate versions and finalized by the joint Conference Committee, has been positive for the ID/DD community, resulting in nearly $18 million in additional funds for people served by the MA Department of Developmental Services, according the Arc of Massachusetts.  The final budget has filled funding gaps in  Family Support, Community Day and Employment, Transportation, and the Autism Omnibus. 

In addition, the Massachusetts Inclusive Concurrent Enrollment Initiative (MAICEI) (Line Item #7066-9600), one of MDSC's top priorities, was funded at the recommended amount of $2 million. The MAICEI program supports partnerships between high schools and public institutes of higher education to provide students with intellectual disabilities and autism the opportunity to participate in college with supports and services they need to be successful.

The MA Legislature also included targeted funding for MDSC, providing critical support for our programs and services. Finally, the FY20  includes $150,000 funding for the UMass Medical Center's Down Syndrome Clinic, an important medical resource for our families in Central and Western Massachusetts.   

Please join us in thanking Governor Baker, each of the Conference Committee members and our state legislators in the House and Senate.  Thank you to all our MDSC members who joined us for our Advocacy Day in June where we advocated for many of these important priorities!

Support the Marriage Access Bill for People with Special Abilities 
Our friend,Congressman Bill Keating (D-MA), and Rep. John Katko (R-NY) introduced bipartisan legislation that will address the unique challenges facing individuals with ID/DD who want to get married and who can reasonably be expected to remain on SSI for most of their adult life. The Marriage Access for People with Special Abilities (MAPSA) Act clarifies that SSI benefits for an individual with an intellectual or developmental disability (ID/DD) will not be affected by marital status. When determining SSI benefits for an individual with ID/DD, only their income and resources will be reviewed, and will not include those of their spouse.   

Please take action below through the NDSS Action Center to ask your congressperson  to cosponsor the Marriage Access Bill. 

Sign up to be a Buddy Walk team captain and raise $350 by August 9th to be entered into contest to win

Register to be a team captain for  one of MDSC's fall Buddy Walks  and raise $350 by August 9th to earn a chance to win 2 tickets to the NE Patriots vs. NY Giants Pre-Season Game! 

Don't miss your chance to catch a glimpse of the six time Super Bowl Champion's up and coming season. 

If you are currently signed up to be a team captain or sign up to be a team captain and raise $350 between now and August 9th, we'll enter you into a drawing to WIN:

2 Pre-Season tickets to NE Patriots vs. NY Giants Game
Section 131 (Mid-Field)
August 29th, 2019 7:30 pm
Gillette Stadium, Foxboro MA
We encourage you to sign up so that our walks will be the most successful ever!  Our Buddy Walk program is the largest public awareness platform in Massachusetts that promotes acceptance and inclusion of all people with Down syndrome.
PLEASE NOTE: registration fee or current amount already raised does not count toward the $350 fundraising minimum by August 9th to be entered into the challenge.
First Ever Down Syndrome Awareness Night with Cape Cod Baseball League 

More than 50 MDSCers joined us at  Spillane Field in Wareham on July 19 for our first every Down Syndrome Awareness Night in partnership with the Cape Cod Baseball League. 

Before the matchup between the 2018 CCBL Champion Wareham Gatemen took on the Falmouth Commodores, our Down syndrome community took center stage on the field. 

We honored three special families who have been integral to our awareness efforts on the Cape -- Jessica and Brian Caprio, Tammy and Evan Marot, and Kim and James Newton. Each has been inspired to give back because of their beautiful child with Down syndrome. 

In addition, Nick and Dom Caprio threw out the first pitch, self advocate Jon Derr started the game off with a rousing "Play Ball!" and Tess Keijser even set up a table to share her expertise as a Pampered Chef seller. 

Special thanks to Kat Newland for her beautiful photos. 

15th Annual Educators Forum on November 7

Register now for the MDSC 15th Annual Educators Forum!  "Shaping an Inclusive Future for Students, Schools, and Communities"

Thursday, November 7, 2019, College of the Holy Cross - Hogan Conference Center, Worcester, MA

The Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress recognizes that supporting students with complex learning profiles requires training and professional support for teachers and administrators. This year's conference is designed to provide teachers with practical workshops that will support professionals who are working hard each day to meet the educational needs of students.

Other topics include: behavior, reading comprehension, writing, friendship, differentiated instruction, augmentative or alternative communication, executive functioning, universal design for learning, mathematics, and college-based transition services. 

Your Next Star Academy Graduates Head Out Into the World.... With Paid Internships
Johann Sauer gets his acceptance letter from Maggy Godfroy of Concord Academy

In June, we were proud to pilot our comprehensive Your Next Star Academy, funded with support from PwC Boston, Liberty Mutual Foundation, and the Deborah Munroe Noonan Memorial Fund, and in collaboration with Collettey's Inc. and 70/30 Partners. Following a weeklong bootcamp that helped the 12 participants sharpen their employment seeking skills, boost their confidence, and strengthen interpersonal and "people" skills, many of our graduates are already out in the workforce, participating in summer internships.

  • Aidan Downey started working at a local YMCA
  • Johann Sauer, who loves to work with his hands and be outdoors, is interning at Concord Academy, helping with groundskeeping.
  • Samantha Gibbs has been waiting and busing tables at a restaurant in her local community, where people have been coming in Wednesday nights just to see her.
  • Sara Crookes, who loves movies and pop culture, was matched with a local comic book shop, where she is helping customers and keeping shelves stocked.
  • Ashley DeNoble, one of the youngest of the participants, is pursuing her passion to help other families affected by Down syndrome by interning at MDSC. 
  • Patrick McGuire will be helping out at a convenience store operated by VERC Enterprises, which has set a goal that 20 percent of its workforce will be people with disabilities.
We appreciate the partnership of these remarkable businesses for understanding the value that people with Down syndrome can add to the workforce. For more information our Your Next Star Academy, go to and look under the Academy tab.

26 'Team MDSC' Runners Set to Take on Falmouth Road Race August 18

In less than two weeks, on August 18th, Team MDSC will embark from the starting line of one of the country's most storied races - the Falmouth Road Race - all to raise awareness for  Down syndrome and support our loved ones. Our 26 runners will take on the 7.1 mile run along the Cape Cod coastline to make a difference. 

Lisa Adelman 
Julie Bowditch 
Brandi Brown 
Caroline Cardaci Ludwig
 Kristina Denietolis 
Jackie Ferreer 
Sheila Gadbois 
Sarah Gauthier 
Jen Gazza 
Dave, Robyn, and son Andrew Granfors 
Sharlene Grant 
Ryan Graves 
Fallon Greer McGovern 
Paul Jarboe 
Timothy Kadehjian 
Emily Lamarca 
Caitlin Macauley 
Joe Ragone 
Jake Ranalli 
Tim and Laurie Richer 
Christian Senna 
Benjamin Solky 
Maria VanPelt

Face Off Against Bruins Greats at MDSC's Charity Hockey Benefit Game 

Dust off those skates and get ready to lace them up this November. MDSC's 15th Annual Bruins Alumni Charity Hockey Game will be November 24.

Spots remain to skate in the 15th Annual MDSC All Star vs. Boston Bruins Alumni Game. Apply now to face off against Boston Bruins greats at the New England Sports Center in Marlborough. Just 
email Reaghan Bik at  to learn more. 
All players will receive a MDSC All-Star hockey shirt and 25 complimentary tickets for their family and friends to attend the game.  A fundraising minimum is required and you'll have your own personal fundraising page to make it easy.  

Western MA Families Gather in Florence to Meet & Greet with MDSC Staff

On Saturday, July 13, 2019, families from all across Western MA (including the Berkshires!) gathered to connect, celebrate and enjoy all the fun activities offered at Look Park in Florence, MA

Thank you to everyone who came out to say hello to MDSC staff members Launa Kazeroid, Sarah Cullen and Colleen Endres. What a great day!

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