Thank you, Edmonton!

Written by Canadian Down Syndrome Society
Friday, 22 May 2015

Edmonton Conference

It’s been a week since the incredible Canadian Down Syndrome Conference in Edmonton began and we’re still overwhelmed by how incredible it was! Thank you to the great people of Edmonton, our sponsors - Kevin & Diane Whyte and Family, Chemco, Details, Edmonton Down Syndrome Society, McAra Printing, and others - speakers, volunteers, attendees and friends for making it one of our best yet!

We made some wonderful memories, including:

  • The Welcome Reception, attended by a record number of people. Joey Moss, Conference Ambassador, attended and signed autographs. We also welcomed Amarjeet Sohi, Edmonton City Councillor
  • Spencer West’s Keynote address that set the tone for an incredible weekend. He made us laugh, cry, and inspired us to create the best community and culture for us and our families
  • Our exceptional speakers, including Dr. Chicoine, Dr. McGuire, Dr. Mobley, and Natalie Hale
  • The Film Festival, brought to us by our friends at Down Syndrome in Arts and Media.
  • Our Self Advocate/Teen Program, which took them to the TELUS World of Science
  • VATTA’s Red Carpet event, where everyone showed up in their best Red Carpet outfits and as their favourite characters in TV and film
  • Our Pre-Endnote presentation by Happy Soul Project’s Tara McCallan, who reminded us of the importance of truly immersing ourselves in all aspects of the disabilities community and giving back when we can
  • Celebrating Ten Years of VATTA, our endnote, which brought together VATTA members, past and present. We debuted the new VATTA film, Picture the Possibilities, which brought the audience to their feet. We also celebrated Janet Charchuk, Andreas Prinz, Ruth Joseph, and Mary Frances Brennick, the four original members of VATTA who retired this year. We're going to miss them but we know they're going to continute to inspire Canadians and people around the world with their message: 'See the Ability!'
  • The surprise presentation for our Executive Director, Kirk Crowther, celebrating his 10 years of commitment to the CDSS community
  • The fantastic party at our banquet, featuring emcees from VATTA, Will Brewer and Alana Gersky. We rocked out on the dance floor with glow sticks until midnight and had A BLAST!

What was your favourite moment? Post it on our Facebook wall or Tweet it to us! Email your pics to and we'll post them. Also check out our Facebook page - we will be posting more photos of the event soon!e

Join us in Edmonton for the 2015 Conference

Written by Canadian Down Syndrome Society
Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Register Today!

We've updated all the session information with the latest and greatest information to help you plan your weekend. All the information you'll need is up - the schedule, session descriptions, and speaker bios. Check them out!

It's not too late to register for the conferenceLet us know if your coming - tweet us using #CDSSConfyeg or post on our Facebook page!

Jane Cameron Award

Written by Canadian Down Syndrome Society
Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Jane Cameron Award

Statement from Hon. Tobias C. Enverga, Jr. for World Down Syndrome Day

Written by Canadian Down Syndrome Society
Wednesday, 25 March 2015

We would like to share this message from Hon. Tobias C. Enverga, Jr. for World Down Syndrome Day. Thank you for taking the time to meet with us, Senator Enverga!

Hon. Tobias C. Enverga Jr

2nd Session, 41st Parliament, Volume 149, Issue 126

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Hon. Tobias C. Enverga, Jr.: Honourable senators, I rise today, as I have every year since my Senate appointment, to mark World Down Syndrome Day this past Saturday, March 21. The focus on the tenth anniversary of the day is "'My Opportunities, My Choices' - Enjoying Full and Equal Rights and the Role of Families."

Honourable senators, as the organization Down Syndrome International states, persons with Down syndrome should have choices, be able to make decisions and have control of their lives. To do this they need access to the support they may require to lead independent lives and to be accepted and included as valued, equal and participating members of their communities. The most important of these is employment — gainful and meaningful employment.

Honourable senators, less than two weeks ago I had the pleasure of meeting with representatives from the Canadian Down Syndrome Society. They were all members of the board of directors, one of whom has Down syndrome herself.

This young woman, Dewlyn Lobo, volunteers part of her time here on Parliament Hill, and her colleagues in the Member of Parliament for Brant, Ontario, Phil McColeman's office attest that "she is awesome!"

Honourable senators, the delegation I met with came with no request in hand. They came with one purpose only. They came to inform parliamentarians about their work, to show how they work with and not for their members, and they came with stories of how their members with Down syndrome, and other persons with different abilities, can contribute just as any other person, as a taxpaying, salary-earning, independently living person. One proof of this is the not-for-profit Avalon Employment Inc. which has ensured over one million hours of paid employment for their clients with various companies in Newfoundland alone.

Honourable senators, we have the opportunity in this chamber to do our own small part.

The Friends of the Senate program gives local high school students with different abilities some much-needed workplace experience by volunteering in senators' and Senate directorates' offices. I encourage you to take part in the initiative, to open your office doors and to ensure the Senate's commitment to people of all abilities.

Celebrate World Down Syndrome Day with us!

Written by Canadian Down Syndrome Society
Friday, 20 March 2015



It's World Down Syndrome Day (March 21)! World Down Syndrome Day gives people around the world the opportunity to recognize and celebrate the contributions made by people with Down syndrome. Today, we are revealing the 2015 Canadian Down Syndrome Heroes!

heroes-web-banner-all5

Canadian Down Syndrome Heroes

For the last four years, the Canadian Down Syndrome Society has selected Heroes for World Down Syndrome Day. These Heroes were nominated by our members and supporters. We chose five great people who inspire their communities to "See the Ability". They represent a new generation of leaders in the Down syndrome community. The 2015 Heroes are (in no particular order):


hero-avatar_emilyEmily Boycott from Milton Emily is a 31-year-old accomplished rhythmic gymnast who has represented Canada at the World Summer Games in Athens, Greece and Shanghai, China. She is currently training for the 2015 World Summer Games in Los Angeles. Emily also works at Boston Pizza in Milton and volunteers with numerous organizations.

Emily was nominated by the Halton Down Syndrome Association (HDSA). Leanne Tovey, Chair of HDSA wrote: “Emily is an amazing daughter, sister, aunt, friend, volunteer, employee and athlete…She gives back tenfold to her family and community. She is a treasure - she is a hero.”

hero-avatar_meganMegan Allard from Spiritwood

Megan is a 17-year-old avid volunteer. She has lead many successful fundraising campaigns for Saskatchewan's disability community. Megan is going to donate her awarded $500 for being a Hero to the Saskatchewan Association of Community Living (SACL) to support the Fusion Inclusion program.

“Megan has been a huge part of the success of our programs in her community of Spiritwood. She has taken a leadership role with our Fusion Inclusion program, which promotes inclusion,” said Carolyn Ganes of SACL in her nomination letter.

hero-avatar_michaelMichael Meehan from Stittsville Michael is an 8-year-old whose positive spirit and inspiring attitude has helped him persevere through his diagnosis of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. This has not deterred him from becoming a leading fundraiser who has helped raise thousands of dollars for CHEO. Michael is donating his award money to the CN Cycle for CHEO campaign.

“Michael has not necessarily been dealt the fairest hand in life but he has made the most of it and has helped others in the process. Michael lives his life in such a way that no one sees a disability. They only see a bright and happy 8-year-old who is bravely fighting cancer. He is our hero,” wrote his father, Joe Meehan his nomination.

hero-avatar_angel
Angel Magnussen from Port Alberni
Angel is a 19-year-old who started an initiative called Hugginz by Angel, that sends personalized blanket to sick children. She has raised over $100, 000 for numerous children's charities in Canada.

“Angel gives me hope,” wrote Lisa Woodin, who sent in a nomination letter for Angel. “As the mother of a special needs child myself, I know that my son is going to have to go out there and find his place in the world. Angel has shown me that he too someday will be able to find his place and that comforts me.”

hero-avatar_andrewAndrew Banar from Windsor Andrew is a 22-year-old who started his own company called Group Hug Apparel, a T-Shirt company that gives proceeds to various children-focused organizations and charities.

“He is a hero, not because he has Down syndrome and because of his business, but because he goes above and beyond to make the world better for those who are facing challenges,” wrote Dianne Sedore-McCoy, who nominated Andrew. Sedore-McCoy is the grandparent of a child with Down syndrome. “With role models like Andrew, I am confident that my granddaughter will have a place in this world and be accepted for who she is.”

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The Heroes will be given a $500.00 grant to put toward their education, a special goal or project, or to donate to another organization of their choice.

Congratulations to our Heroes and thanks to the Heroes Selection Committee who had the hard decision of choosing just five! Click on any Hero's name above to learn more about them.

Other World Down Syndrome Day Initiatives

Not only are we celebrating Heroes, but communities around Canada and the world are celebrating this great day with parties, events, and Lots of Socks! What are you up to? Post it on our Facebook page or Tweet it to us. We'll be sharing and retweeting throughout the day. Use #SeeTheAbility and #WDSD15.

And while you're at it, share and tweet Down Syndrome International's "My Opportunities, My Choices" video, featuring 50 countries from around the world. Canada's clip features Johanna Dias! Make sure to also check out The Canadian Down Syndrome Society's 2015 "See the Ability" Photo Montage.

To celebrate World Down Syndrome Day on Saturday, CDSS has released a new video titled 'If you listen, you can see a lot.' It features Alana Gersky, self-advocate (adult with Down syndrome) and member of VATTA, CDSS's steering committee. Her message is simple for all Canadians: See the Ability. Watch the video below:

alana

We hope you have a wonderful World Down Syndrome Day. See the Ability!

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