Wednesday, April 1, 2015

World Down Syndrome Day , better late than never!

World Down Syndrome Day (3/21) has come and gone, and surprise surprise I have not had time to sit down and write about all of its amazingness... until now!

Garnet Valley School District (the district where my husband and I both work, and where we met) decided to participate in the world-wide event: Rock Your Socks.  The Delaware Down Syndrome Association does a wonderful job getting mismatched socks out to hundreds of schools, businesses, and individuals to help spread awareness! Since the event has grown so much bigger, they needed help unpacking the socks, mismatching them, and putting them together again with information about WDSD to send out to various places that were going to sell them.

I went to volunteer to get socks ready, along with other wonderful individuals! I thought it was going to be a small group of people volunteering, boy was I wrong! It was quite the production! There were people everywhere working to get the crazy socks together. It was a total mad house, but in the best way possible.

Garnet Valley alone picked up 4,000 socks to sell in preparation for WDSD. Each pair of socks cost $1, and the money raised would go right back to the Delaware Down Syndrome Association for providing the socks.

Guess what? 4,000 socks for GV was not enough.... they sold out the day before WDSD! When I heard that news, I couldn't stop smiling. That meant at least 4,000 people were going to show their support for Down syndrome! It blew my mind.

There were other schools and businesses that wanted to join in on the fun too, and they also rocked their socks for WDSD! One of the school districts decided to participate in the event because someone shared Anthony's WDSD video and they thought it was a good idea!  Go Anthony for making a difference!!

IMX Medical Management Services (where both of Joe's sisters work) went above and beyond to celebrate this special day. They took a sample Beautiful Beginnings basket (click the Beautiful Beginnings tab above if you don't know what that is) to raise money, at their office, to make more baskets. They also participated in the Random Act of Kindness event that I wrote about in the previous post.

I was so moved that others wanted to spread awareness by doing the Random Acts of Kindness after I posted about it. My mom's friend Terry bought coffee for a stranger in line behind her and gave them a card about World Down Syndrome Day, and my mom and dad bought dinner for a father and his daughter at a restaurant. Those people said they were going to pay it forward and spread the message about World Down Syndrome Day too!

A lot of work went into getting ready for WDSD, and our little family was so excited for the day to finally arrive! That excitement turned into fear when the weather forecast called for snow.  I cursed the weatherman and prayed this would just be another time he was horribly wrong. There would be some pretty pissed off Mangos if there was no school for WDSD!

Thankfully, school was still on! Joe and I put on our matching shirts, our crazy socks, and were off to celebrate everything about Down syndrome for a whole day!

It was amazing to be a substitute in a classroom and have so much time to educate the students about Down syndrome. They loved the activities, stories, and videos so much they kept asking for more and more! After I walked the students to the bus, and went back to the empty classroom I cried. It was such an amazing day, and it might not have meant much to anyone else but to me it meant the world. The whole day I was sent pictures of people wearing crazy socks, I walked around the building and saw the whole school wearing socks, I sold tons of my Down Syndrome Lesson on Teachers Pay Teachers (the fact that this lesson has been my highest paying lesson on TPT to date makes me so excited... and honestly, it's not because of the money, it's because I know all of those lessons were purchased to use in a classroom somewhere. That to me is so humbling that students are learning about Down syndrome because of a lesson I wrote) and I took it all in, until there was so much pride and happiness it just came exploding out.

As a mom of a little boy with Down syndrome it is my mission to make sure he grows up being treated with respect, and is accepted for the amazing individual he is. Anthony is not even two yet, but I already see a change in the way people around us view Down syndrome. I see people willing to learn about something new and I see young students soaking up the message that we are all different but still alike in so many ways. In Anthony's two short years he has already made a huge impact in the community around him. I know that if this momentum keeps up, the world will embrace him with open arms and he will be able to do absolutely anything anyone else can!


Thank you to everyone that went out of their way to show support for Down syndrome and to help spread awareness! You all rock!!!

WDSD's actual date fell on a Saturday (it was just celebrated in schools on Friday), and we had a really fun Easter egg hunt planned, but it was cancelled due to snow. It was rescheduled for this past weekend, and even though there was no snow on the ground the weather screamed winter! It was brutal (34 degrees)! But, we managed to snap some cute pictures before Anthony had a complete melt down!

"Your mom made you come to this too Antonella?

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