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Before we kick off November - let's reflect on the value of GRATITUDE!
Gratitude generally stands for the quality or feeling of being grateful, thankful, or appreciative. Gratitude is a way to reduce stress, worry, and anxiety. There is actual science behind the concept and practice of gratitude.

Gratitude is a “natural antidepressant,” created through the production of the feel-good hormones dopamine and serotonin in our brain that improves our mood.

The neuroscience behind the concept of gratitude has three areas of benefit: psychological, physical, and social. The practice of gratitude leads to a happier, fitter, and better you. (Russell and Fosha in 2008)

Doesn’t that sound like a wonderful self-care regime? It’s free, easy, and has no side effects! We know that this works because we are incredibly grateful for being part of your Down syndrome story - it really does make us feel good!
Magic Volunteers Needed!
This is a fun and easy way to give back to The FOUNDATION! Join us as we cheer on the home team and build the capacity of our iCan! Work Program. This is the perfect opportunity for anyone 18+. You can come as an individual or bring a group - it is a great team building event to do during the holidays. Our volunteers work alongside our iCan! Work team members delivering food to the Club Level guests at Orlando Magic games. (Members who volunteer for 5 games meet the active member status requirement.) Come see how we are changing the face of employment for individuals with Down syndrome with Levy Restaurants at Amway Arena!
It's beginning to feel a lot like....
....that magical time of year and time for an awesome incentive!

Our next Bowl-A-Thon incentive is a spectacular holiday event at Give Kids The World for you and your immediate family!

Enter a drawing to win tickets for a night to remember for you and your loved ones at Night of a Million Lights @ Give Kids The World.

Here's how it works:

Incentive runs from November 1- 11

Donors will earn 1 entry for every $10 donated.
Team Captains will earn 1 entry for every $50 raised.

The winners will watch a dancing lights show in a fairytale neighborhood; stroll amidst millions of lights, featuring a sparkling tree trail; enjoy festive music and holiday treats; take a tram ride through the storybook Village;
visit a holiday marketplace; and create unforgettable memories at the place Where Happiness Inspires Hope.

This year we have decided that it is time to let everyone know how GRATEFUL we are that The FOUNDATION has more than a MILLION REASONS to believe we deserve support!

In just over 10 years we have awarded over
$1.1 MILLION dollars in scholarships and provided
an additional $1 MILLION dollars in programming
because of our Tour of Champions Bowl-a-thon.

What those numbers mean is that there have been thousands of hours of OPPORTUNITY given to individuals with Down syndrome. Each hour invested in our community means an hour that someone gets to see the potential individuals with Down syndrome have - at work, in the classroom, on the soccer field or in the swimming pool. It doesn't matter where the community gets the 'Down Syndrome Experience' - what matters is that people who don't know someone with Down syndrome get to meet a person with dreams, desires, talents and a future. This changes hearts and minds. It truly does!

Together, we can unharness POTENTIAL - one scholarship, one program, one person and one dream at a time! What dreams do you hold for your loved one with Down syndrome? Let's exceed the 2022 goal of $321,000 and make them come true together!

The dream of INCLUSION!

The dream of INDEPENDENCE! 

The dream of EMPLOYMENT!

The dream of FRIENDSHIP!
Join the 2022 Bowl-A-Thon planning committee!
Are you creative? Do you love event planning? Want a role in helping our mission? We cannot wait to hear from you!

Date: Monday, November 22
Time: 7:00pm
Location: Virtual meeting on Zoom.

Join the bowl-a-thon committee for the largest fundraiser that makes all of the programs and scholarships available throughout the year! Most meetings are virtual so you can participate no matter where you live. If you live outside the Orlando area and would like to help, there are virtual team options and the auction is online so anyone can participate!  

Being part of this committee is fun and a great way to fulfill "active member" status with The FOUNDATION. We are looking for people that are committed to making a difference and can help with the items below:

  • Securing auction items
  • Registering teams for the Corporate Cup Challenge 
  • Corporate Sponsorships
  • Helping participants set up virtual teams.

We would love a few more creative and energetic individuals to help us make this the best event yet! If you are interested in joining, please email Camille at Camille.Gardiner@dsfflorida.org.
Did you know that if EVERY family that is a member would raise only $321
by February 27, we would EXCEED our goal of $321,000?

Imagine what we could do with that plus all of the corporate sponsors and teams who go above and beyond! Just IMAGINE THE IMPACT!

Nearly EVERYTHING we do as an organization is due to the families and volunteers who support our annual Tour of Champions. As you read through the list of programs below we want to draw your attention to the amount of support the TOUR provides. If you cannot bowl with us this year, create a VIRTUAL TEAM! You can still do all of the fundraising and help us promote awareness over the next couple of months.

3 easy ways for YOU to raise $321?

Ask just TEN FRIENDS to donate $32 to your team
Set up a donation calendar and ask 31 friends to pick ONE day of the month to make a donation in the amount of that day ($1 on the first / $2 on the second / $3 on the third / etc. until $31 on the 31st) and
you will have raised $496

Once a week (over the next 17 weeks) put $18 into a 'FOUNDATION' account and you will have $321 by the Bowl a thon!
FOUNDATION Playdate Meet-Up
When: Saturday, November 6

Time: 11am - 2pm

Location: The beach at Jetty Park - Cape Canaveral, FL 32920

Join us November 6 from 11 am to 2pm to enjoy some fun at the beach. Bring a picnic lunch and your favorite beach toys for a day of fun.

We are hosting this month's playdate at the beach during our Camping Jamboree so you can meet more FOUNDATION families. This group is for families with children ages birth to 8 years old. It is a perfect way to grow your circle of friends and network! Parents are often the best source of information and support.

A special THANK YOU to Suzanne Sherrill for helping us organize and plan this fun family event!

Join YOUNG EXPLORERS
(first - sixth grade)
It's FAMILY DAY at the BEACH for you too! Come enjoy the best Florida has to offer - a beautiful day oceanside with friends! This is a GREAT way to meet other families and children that are doing life just like you! This new group is for children in first - sixth grade (and their family.)

When: Saturday, November 6

Time: 1pm - 4pm

Location: The beach at Jetty Park - Cape Canaveral, FL 32920

This is our newest friend group at The FOUNDATION. The goal of this group is for families to meet others with kids in elementary school and do some really cool things together - just like T21 and Club 321 have been doing. We know that making friends in the same 'age group' as your child can prove to be super helpful. It gives you someone to call who 'just gets it' when something goes really right - or when you are having an 'off day.'

Grab a big sheet or some beach towels, a snack/lunch and some sunscreen and make some memories with The FOUNDATION - we think it will help fill your GRATITUDE cup!

A special THANK YOU to Claudia Chiorando for starting this awesome new group of FOUNDATION friends & families!
T21 Social Network (18+) &
Club 321 (middle & high school)
It's time to go to the BEACH!
Calling all T21 and Club 321 Members!

Join us for a
FAMILY DAY AT THE BEACH!

Date: Saturday, November 6

Time: 11am - 2pm

Location: Jetty Park Beach (Cape Canaveral)



Fresh air, ocean breezes and FRIENDS - what could be better than that on a Saturday afternoon?

This month we are inviting each of our groups to participate in a FAMILY BEACH DAY so you can get to know the other members who have loved ones the same age as your young adult / student.

Typically, our T21 and Club 321 events are drop off events, however, we want you to get to know other members of The FOUNDATION and meet the friends who have been attending these events with your loved one. Also, if you/your loved one has not attended a T21 or Club 321 event, this is a GREAT OPPORTUNITY to come try it out with your whole family!

Grab your beach chairs, favorite beach activity (frisbee, volleyball or just your bathing suit) and picnic lunch and spend a few hours enjoying Saturday on the coast.

The FOUNDATION will cover your entrance fee to Jetty Park. Take advantage of this opportunity to relax at the beach, fish off the pier (this activity will be provided by The FOUNDATION) or participate in an introductory iCan! Surf program. RSVP is required to have free gate access and to participate in iCan! Surf and/or fishing. There will also be kayaks and other water equipment available. Once you have registered for the beach day you will receive a confirmation with the iCan! Surf information and sign up form.

**Members who are eligible for both groups should pick one of the groups for the purpose of signing up for this event, however, we will all be in the same area of the beach so you will get to mingle with both groups.
About Giving Tuesday
#GivingTuesday is a simple idea that has become a global generosity movement unleashing the power of radical generosity.

GivingTuesday was created in 2012 as a day that encourages people to do good. Since then, it has grown into a year-round global movement that inspires hundreds of millions of people to give, collaborate, and celebrate generosity.

A few years ago The FOUNDATION joined the movement and asked our members to give. This is ONE day when nearly ALL of the non-profits in the world are asking their fans, members, donors and community to pick them and we decided that we didn't want to miss out!

Now, we are asking you to plan ahead and put November 30 on your calendar as a day you plan to GIVE to The FOUNDATION.

Whether you decide to give some of your time, a donation, or the power of your voice in your local community - every act of generosity counts and everyone has something to give.

How can you make a difference and give in 2021?




  • Sign up with a group of friends to work as volunteers at an Orlando Magic game this season. (We earn $$$ from Levy Restaurants for every person that works they make a financial contribution which supports our iCan! Work Program.)
Spring scholarships are open!
The FOUNDATION has awarded OVER
$1.1 million since we began our scholarship program!

For our scholarships, we ask YOU to find something that your son or daughter would like to do, sign up (with that organization) and then apply for our scholarship. 

Scholarship applications will be accepted for
Educational
Community
Swimming
Speech
Behavioral (ABA)
The spring scholarship covers January 2022 - April 2022.

*Applications will close on December 4th.

What do families have to say about our scholarships?

ABA therapy has been so incredibly helpful to our daughter’s development. Being able to attend more therapy means R has more opportunity to learn communication, independence, self-help skills, and work on behavior issues.

S loved going to t-ball each week. Even though he is still working on the physical skills, he definitely learned the language of the sport and about sportsmanship. He knew who his coach was and would run to huddle up with his team when the coach called out “huddle up!” He learned how to put his hand in the huddle and shout along with the team cheer. It was amazing to see him be a part of something and to be included.

Very pleased that M had the opportunity to work with a tutor over the summer. If it was not for The FOUNDATION, it would have been a great financial burden to provide those services on our own. Very grateful!!

This is a friendly reminder that to qualify for a scholarship, you must be an active member!

There are many ways to become an active member at The FOUNDATION. We never wanted to require a membership fee to access our programs and services - if you have a loved one with Down syndrome, YOU'RE IN!

However, we do need help keeping our costs low so we can give as much as possible back to our families. We do this by asking YOU to volunteer and serve your organization. We know that the best way for people to value what they have is to become a part of making it happen!

Active member status means that you are contributing to the organization that supports you and our communities. It can be as easy as having a bowling team to attending four events in a calendar year!

How can you become an ACTIVE MEMBER?
  • Attend at least 4 FOUNDATION events in a year - any event - just come once a quarter!

  • Volunteer with the FOUNDATION - you can clean tents after camping, help stuff envelopes after bowling, help organize our storage unit, volunteer at an event you are not attending (like iCan! Bike)....there are many opportunities to donate your time.

  • Write an article for our newsletter or another publication once a quarter (4x a year.)

  • Speak at your child's school or your place of employment during DS Awareness Month or Disabilities Awareness Month (or any time) and share what The FOUNDATION is doing. 

  • Host a DRESS DOWN FOR DOWN SYNDROME at your place of employment or child's school.

  • Serve on a FOUNDATION committee

  • Set up a Tour of Champions Team - you can have a team that bowls on February 27 or a virtual team - we welcome both. If you cannot attend the event or if you live outside of Central Florida, starting a virtual team will still help us meet our goal.

  • Donate an in-kind item to our auction - you can create a themed basket or donate items that we can include in a basket. Ask your favorite restaurant or business to make an in-kind donation. 

  • Secure a corporate donation or a Corporate Cup Challenge Team

  • Chair a Tour of Champions committee

  • Do you have another suggestion? Let us know! We are open to your creative ideas too!
Oral Motor Evaluations
January 26-29, 2022, Renee Roy Hill and Whitney Pimentel will be in Orlando to conduct Oral Motor Placement Evaluations / Talk Tools Therapy. This was the Member Information Meeting topic in October and is a program good for anyone birth - adulthood. Oral motor therapy is a great way to work on speech, eating, articulation and other skills. Click on the button below to learn about the program and watch a video about the unique ways Talk Tools and this team can help your loved one.  Register now to reserve your time with Renee or Whitney in January.

Meet the therapists:
Renee Roy Hill is a speech and language pathologist with more than 19 years of professional experience. Renee is a national and international lecturer and speaker for TalkTools Therapy where she presents one and two day courses on Oral Placement Therapy Techniques, Assessments, Program Plan Development and Apraxia. She is the author of the TalkTools Therapy "Apraxia Kit" and the co-author of "Ice Sticks" and numerous other TalkTools Therapy Programs. Renee specializes in oral motor, feeding and motor speech disorders. She is certified as an Orofacial Myologist.

Whitney Pimentel received her Master’s degree in Speech and Language Pathology in 1997 from Louisiana Tech University. During her first two years in her new profession, she quickly realized there was a need for understanding how the inability to eat was negatively impacting speech development. In 2005 she began establishing her own placement development, motor skills development and speech clarity. She has had the honor of presenting at the Charge Conference in 2013 and 2015, many Down syndrome conferences, and travels all over the US establishing program plans and treatment for children who need her services. Whitney collaborates with a wide variety of professionals to ensure children on her caseload get optimal care and make progress.

Holiday Assistance
It's the most wonderful time of the year as we snuggle up with our loved ones to share stories, meals and memories. We are so thankful for our FOUNDATION family and would like to make sure every member has a magical holiday season.

The FOUNDATION continues our tradition, providing food and gift items for our families who need assistance.

If your family would like to receive the ingredients for a Holiday Dinner or assistance with purchasing gifts this holiday season, please click on the request button below, fill out the form and we will be in touch with you. 

Please submit requests for holiday assistance by
Friday, November 12
Why I am Thankful
November brings cool air, warm sweaters and family time - the perfect season to reflect on our blessings. It's been quite a year and there is so much to be thankful for!

Show us why you are thankful using our Facebook frame:
Click here to add the frame to your profile picture.

Don't forget to add
#WhyIAmThankful
to your posts and tell us your story. 😊


Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at The FOUNDATION!
IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE
WINTER WONDERLAND
We are beyond thrilled to announce that our annual Winter Wonderland - It's a Wonderful Life will return to the Rosen Plaza for an evening of dancing and celebrating 2021!

To fill your heart with inspiration, here is a recap from the last time we were all together dancing the night away!
We can't wait!!! Save the date!! We will all feel better when we are dancing!

Date: Saturday, December 11

Time: 6:00pm - 9:00pm

Location: Rosen Plaza Hotel

Address: 9700 International Drive, Orlando, FL 32819

Cost: This evening is being provided for free by The FOUNDATION. If you RSVP and need to cancel, please do so by December 8 or we will invoice you $25 for each meal.


RSVP by Monday, November 29
Zion's Story Impacts Us All
We were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Zion Sarmiento, an infant with Down syndrome who was denied the heart transplant he needed to survive.

Unfortunately, we did not know Zion’s family until the news had hit social media about his passing.

This is a story that greatly impacts all of our members and we are joining forces with Down syndrome organizations across the state and the country to keep this from happening again.

Florida has already passed advance policy and practices that ensure people with Down syndrome have equal access to life-saving organ transplants. In 2020 a bill was introduced in the Florida legislature: CS/HB 1179 — Nondiscrimination in Organ Transplants. The bill prohibits discrimination by specified “covered entities” from denying, refusing to allocate, or lowering an individual’s priority for organ transplant services, solely on the basis of an individual’s developmental or intellectual disability. (Vote: Senate 38-0; House 111-0)

Stories like Zion’s are why The FOUNDATION advocates at the state-level and why we are supporting federal legislation: Charlotte Woodward Organ Transplant Discrimination Prevention Act (H.R. 1235) in Washington, D.C.

You can help us push for change by using The NDSS action alert tools to contact Congress here: https://bit.ly/3ne7kJ6.

We also invite you to join Zion’s Army below and share your thoughts and support with the Sarmiento family.

Together we can ensure the rights of all individuals with Down syndrome.
Another SUPER easy way to support
The FOUNDATION
SHOP AND GIVE this holiday season!
So far in 2021, we have raised over $6,000 from our members simply choosing us as their non-profit of choice on Amazon Smile. It only takes a couple of minutes and doesn't cost you a thing. You simply do what you have always done and we receive a donation!

Amazon Smile is the perfect way to help support The FOUNDATION while you shop this holiday season.

  • Amazon donates 0.5% of your purchase to the charity of your choice through Amazon Smile.
  • Amazon Smile is the same Amazon you know. Same prices, products and services.

Ready to shop 'til you drop while supporting INCLUSION?

  1. Visit smile.amazon.com and log into your Amazon account.
  2. Select "Down Syndrome Foundation of Florida" as your charitable organization.
  3. Enjoy shopping and thank you for supporting The FOUNDATION!
Virtual Zumba with Elyse!
When: Every Tuesday
Time: 4:00pm - 5:00pm
Location: Virtual meeting using Zoom - can be found below, on our private Facebook page, Meetup, or by emailing:

Elyse Mundelein will be teaching a virtual Zumba class! We will post the Zoom information of the event below or on our private Facebook page. No experience needed, just get ready to dance and have fun!
Upcoming dates:

  • Tuesday, November 2
  • Tuesday, November 9
  • Tuesday, November 16
  • Tuesday, November 23
  • Tuesday, November 30
Virtual Club 321
Join our Club 321 virtual meet-up for middle and high-schoolers!
When: Every Wednesday
Time: 4:00pm - 5:00pm
Location: Virtual meeting using Zoom - can be found below, on our private Facebook page, Meetup, or by emailing,

This is a great opportunity for our middle and high school group to socialize, engage, and connect with each other. We'll have something new and different each week!
Upcoming dates:

  • Wednesday, November 3 - Trivia Challenge and Scavenger Hunt
  • Wednesday, November 10 - Disney Karaoke
  • Wednesday, November 17 - Workout with The FOUNDATION
  • Wednesday, November 24 - Drawing 101
Virtual T21 Social Network (18+)
When: Every Thursday
Time: 4:00pm - 5:00pm
Location: Virtual meeting using Zoom - can be found below, on our private Facebook page, Meetup, or by emailing,

This is a great opportunity for our adult group to socialize, engage, and connect with each other. We'll have something new and different each week!
Upcoming dates:

  • Thursday, November 4 - Yoga and Relaxation
  • Thursday, November 11 - Scattergories and Trivia
  • Thursday, November 18 - Dance Party and Karaoke Sing-A-Long
  • Thursday, November 25 - No session - Enjoy your Thanksgiving!
F^3 : Who? What? Where? When? & WHY?
When: Select Fridays
Time: 4:00pm - 4:30pm and 4:30pm - 5:00pm
Location: Virtual meeting using Zoom - the link can be found below, on our private Facebook page, Meetup, or by emailing,

POWER UP and BUILD friendships!
This program will provide the building blocks for small groups to form relationships and friendships in a virtual environment. Sessions are capped at 5 participants to allow for deeper engagement and a more personal experience. We'll build conversational skills and independence with the goal of forming true friendships over time. Each session will be offered to different age groups. Ex: Girls aged 11-14 for one session and boys aged 15-18 for a different session, women 25-30, etc.


Schedule:

November 5th
4 pm - 5 pm Girls & Boys ages 11-14

November 12th 
4 pm to 5 pm - Women and Men ages 15-18

November 19th
4 pm to 5 pm - Women and Men ages 19-24

November 26th
No F^3 due to Thanksgiving Holiday
Let us know your thoughts....
If you would like to contribute to the newsletter or have suggestions about how to make the newsletter even better, please reach out to us at info@dsfflorida.org with your thoughts and suggestions. We would love to hear from you!
Let's get social!
Follow us on social media for more information and to stay up-to-date on our upcoming events.