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National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS)


Our Mission

NDSS Mission: The mission of the National Down Syndrome Society is to be the leading human rights organization for all individuals with Down syndrome. NDSS Vision: The National Down Syndrome Society envisions a world in which all people with Down syndrome have the opportunity to enhance their quality of life, realize their life aspirations and become valued members of welcoming communities. NDSS Programs: NDSS Inclusive Education Program - works alongside families, school districts, and policy makers to ensure that every student with Down syndrome is educated in an inclusive environment. While no two students are alike in skills and talents, each and every student has the right to be a fully accepted and active member of their school participating along with their peers without disabilities in all the activities, instructional and non-instructional, matching their talents with appropriate supports to help them reach their full potential. #DSWORKS® Employment Program - established in 2016 this program encourages businesses, from Main Street to Wall Street, to invest in hiring individuals with Down syndrome. In addition to employment, NDSS works with our #DSWORKS® Corporate & Strategic partners to create meaningful employment pathways for the Down syndrome community, increasing their bottom line and creating a culture of awareness and inclusion. NDSS National Buddy Walk® Program - since 1995, the Buddy Walk® has been the premier Down syndrome awareness and advocacy peer-to-peer fundraising program in the world. The Buddy Walk® was created by NDSS to promote acceptance and inclusion of people with Down syndrome and to raise funds for local and national initiatives that support people with Down syndrome and their families. The National Buddy Walk® Program will celebrate its 25th Anniversary in 2019 and introduce a rebrand of the entire program. NDSS Athlete Ambassador Program - Since launching the NDSS Athlete Ambassador Program in 2017, the team has attracted nearly 200 dedicated Athletes. The 2018-2019 Athlete Ambassador team featured individuals who are active in a variety of sports such as running, swimming, cycling, powerlifting, yoga, climbing, and triathlons. Our athletes push themselves in training and competition to be the best they can be while representing and advocating for the Down syndrome community. Whether it’s a local 5k or an international Ironman race, our athletes can be found across the globe competing for NDSS. This program has allowed NDSS to secure incredible sports-focused partnerships, including Newton Running, Honeystinger, Zensah, Flipbelt, Headsweats, Bombas, Nuun, RunLites, NoxGear, Foxelli Headlamps, Defunkify Detergent, Running Warehouse and Road ID, that have helped make all #TeamNDSS events possible over the past year. Our Athlete Ambassador Program is growing, and offers various opportunities to foster new partnerships and highlight the success of athletes representing NDSS globally through various sports and activities. NDSS Down Syndrome Community Outreach & Support - NDSS is proud to work with a network of more than 380 local Down syndrome affiliates across the country to provide an array of benefits to help better service the Down syndrome community. Through our Information and Referral Center, NDSS receives more than 10,000 requests a year for information on Down syndrome. NDSS responds to questions from parents, professionals, self-advocates and other interested individuals. Our toll-free helpline and email service is supported by a translation service that can be accessed in more than 150 languages. NDSS continues to provide the most up to date information on Down syndrome. NDSS publishes guides and information brochures in both English and Spanish. Our publications provide comprehensive information across the lifespan of individuals with Down syndrome, from birth to end of life. NDSS’ National Advocacy & Public Policy Center - located in Washington, D.C., advocates for federal, state and local policies that positively impact all people with Down syndrome across the country. Our comprehensive legislative agenda is centered on five important areas across the lifespan: healthcare & research, education, economic self-sufficiency, community integration, and employment. We focus on legislation that would improve the lives of people with Down syndrome. These priorities have been shaped by self-advocates, families, affiliate leaders and others under the direction of the NDSS Board of Directors. NDSS DS-AMBASSADOR® Program - Participants in the NDSS DS-AMBASSADOR® Program are volunteer advocates of all abilities committed to taking part in the democratic process and serving as liaisons between NDSS and their congressional delegates. The overarching goal of the NDSS DS-AMBASSADOR® Program is to build long-lasting relationships with U.S. Senators and Representatives to continually raise awareness, educate and advocate for public policy solutions that benefit the Down syndrome community at the federal level. Participants in the program are crucial to the success of NDSS. The program was revamped at the beginning of 2019 to include a two year contract and commitment from each NDSS DS-AMBASSADOR® and the program has grown to about 200 participants.

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NDSS Mission: The mission of the National Down Syndrome Society is to be the leading human rights organization for all individuals with Down syndrome.
NDSS Vision: The National Down Syndrome Society envisions a world in which all people with Down syndrome have the opportunity to enhance their quality of life, realize their life aspirations and become valued members of welcoming communities.
NDSS Programs:
NDSS Inclusive Education Program – works alongside families, school districts, and policy makers to ensure that every student with Down syndrome is educated in an inclusive environment. While no two students are alike in skills and talents, each and every student has the right to be a fully accepted and active member of their school participating along with their peers without disabilities in all the activities, instructional and non-instructional, matching their talents with appropriate supports to help them reach their full potential.
#DSWORKS® Employment Program – established in 2016 this program encourages businesses, from Main Street to Wall Street, to invest in hiring individuals with Down syndrome. In addition to employment, NDSS works with our #DSWORKS® Corporate & Strategic partners to create meaningful employment pathways for the Down syndrome community, increasing their bottom line and creating a culture of awareness and inclusion.
NDSS National Buddy Walk® Program – since 1995, the Buddy Walk® has been the premier Down syndrome awareness and advocacy peer-to-peer fundraising program in the world. The Buddy Walk® was created by NDSS to promote acceptance and inclusion of people with Down syndrome and to raise funds for local and national initiatives that support people with Down syndrome and their families. The National Buddy Walk® Program will celebrate its 25th Anniversary in 2019 and introduce a rebrand of the entire program.
NDSS Athlete Ambassador Program – Since launching the NDSS Athlete Ambassador Program in 2017, the team has attracted nearly 200 dedicated Athletes. The 2018-2019 Athlete Ambassador team featured individuals who are active in a variety of sports such as running, swimming, cycling, powerlifting, yoga, climbing, and triathlons. Our athletes push themselves in training and competition to be the best they can be while representing and advocating for the Down syndrome community. Whether it’s a local 5k or an international Ironman race, our athletes can be found across the globe competing for NDSS. This program has allowed NDSS to secure incredible sports-focused partnerships, including Newton Running, Honeystinger, Zensah, Flipbelt, Headsweats, Bombas, Nuun, RunLites, NoxGear, Foxelli Headlamps, Defunkify Detergent, Running Warehouse and Road ID, that have helped make all #TeamNDSS events possible over the past year. Our Athlete Ambassador Program is growing, and offers various opportunities to foster new partnerships and highlight the success of athletes representing NDSS globally through various sports and activities.
NDSS Down Syndrome Community Outreach & Support – NDSS is proud to work with a network of more than 380 local Down syndrome affiliates across the country to provide an array of benefits to help better service the Down syndrome community. Through our Information and Referral Center, NDSS receives more than 10,000 requests a year for information on Down syndrome. NDSS responds to questions from parents, professionals, self-advocates and other interested individuals. Our toll-free helpline and email service is supported by a translation service that can be accessed in more than 150 languages. NDSS continues to provide the most up to date information on Down syndrome. NDSS publishes guides and information brochures in both English and Spanish. Our publications provide comprehensive information across the lifespan of individuals with Down syndrome, from birth to end of life.
NDSS’ National Advocacy & Public Policy Center – located in Washington, D.C., advocates for federal, state and local policies that positively impact all people with Down syndrome across the country. Our comprehensive legislative agenda is centered on five important areas across the lifespan: healthcare & research, education, economic self-sufficiency, community integration, and employment. We focus on legislation that would improve the lives of people with Down syndrome. These priorities have been shaped by self-advocates, families, affiliate leaders and others under the direction of the NDSS Board of Directors.
NDSS DS-AMBASSADOR® Program – Participants in the NDSS DS-AMBASSADOR® Program are volunteer advocates of all abilities committed to taking part in the democratic process and serving as liaisons between NDSS and their congressional delegates. The overarching goal of the NDSS DS-AMBASSADOR® Program is to build long-lasting relationships with U.S. Senators and Representatives to continually raise awareness, educate and advocate for public policy solutions that benefit the Down syndrome community at the federal level. Participants in the program are crucial to the success of NDSS. The program was revamped at the beginning of 2019 to include a two year contract and commitment from each NDSS DS-AMBASSADOR® and the program has grown to about 200 participants.
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God speaks in funny ways! It only took until I was on my death bed for the 4th time for Him to put the Idea of Gaingive on my heart. We had been traveling around to some pretty poverty stricken areas, seeing churches and ministries struggle to keep the doors open because of the lack of financial support. And yeah, I just felt it in my heart that, since it all belongs to God anyways, we might as well get creative about how people support ministries. In the coming months was really when it was revealed to us just how powerful this could be, not only for financial support to those who could really use it, but more importantly to introduce a giving lifestyle to a lot of people. “

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