Hi there,    

October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month, and it's coming up! Whether you already have every post planned or you're looking for new ideas, we hope you'll check out our Down Syndrome Awareness Month Blogger Guide to learn how you can get involved. We look forward to seeing what you come up with!
Julie Cevallos
National Down Syndrome Society
Vice President of Marketing 

NDSS established the Buddy Walk® in 1995 to celebrate Down Syndrome Awareness Month and to promote acceptance and inclusion of people with Down syndrome in their own cities. The program has grown from 17 Walks its first year to over 250 Walks expected in 2013. Find a Buddy Walk® in your area and invite your followers to join your team!  

If your followers can't make your Walk, encourage them to find their local Walks using the Buddy Walk® Spark - the one-stop-shop to watch the Buddy Walk® public service announcement featuring the Imagination Movers, learn more about the National Buddy Walk® Program, find a Walk or start your own. The geolocator tool automatically presents the closest five Walks to whoever is using the Spark, making it that easy for anyone reading your blog to find a Walk to attend. The Spark can also easily be embedded in any blog or shared via social media! Just click the Share button on the top right for the embed code to post to your blog. 

Educate: Teach Your Followers 
As a blogger, you have a captive audience open to hearing what you have to say. Let them know that October is National Down Syndrome Awareness Month, what you're celebrating, for whom and why. It is the perfect opportunity to teach those around you about Down syndrome, and NDSS has lots of quick and easy ways to do it!
  • NDSS is proud to present our new "Get to Know Me" poster and lesson plan for elementary school-aged kids! Promote inclusion and raise awareness in your school with these new tools.  
  • The NDSS Down syndrome section offers helpful pages that cover the basics about Down syndrome. The preferred language guide is especially helpful for teaching your followers the correct way to speak about Down syndrome and those who have it, while the Myths and Truths page will help you dispel some common inaccuracies about people with Down syndrome.  
  • The resources section covers everything from new and expectant parents to the NDSS aging guide - available in English and Spanish - and issues relating to the entire lifespan. The topics in this section might be helpful tools in covering issues you've wanted to discuss on your blog. 

NDSS Your Way: Fundraise Your Way 
NDSS Your Way invites you to compete, celebrate and create with us through our online fundraising program that is geared towards independent fundraisers interested in raising money on behalf of NDSS. Down Syndrome Awareness Month is a great time to start! Through Team NDSS, NDSS Celebrations or NDSS New Ideas we invite you to have a bake sale, grow a mustache, run a marathon, throw a party, organize a bowl-a-thon - however you do it, do it for NDSS and do it Your Way!

If you're looking for inspiration, check out the NDSS Your Way Pinterest board to read more about some of our fantastic fundraisers and their individual campaigns. Share some of these great ideas with your followers and use your blog to promote your own campaign!

NDSS Signature Lines: Raise A-wear-ness 
NDSS is proud to announce our newest t-shirt line exclusively for kids by TeeSpring. Designed by author, photographer and blogger Kelle Hampton, this design this design reads "teach me to soar and I will." It is available for a limited time only, through September 30! The shirts are available in size six months to youth large, and for each shirt purchased, at least $5 will be donated to NDSS. The amount increases as more shirts are sold, so spread the word and increase your donation! 


NDSS is also proud to continue our partnership with Rhyme & Reason, the company behind the NDSS signature clothing line. The line now includes men's, women's and kids' designs, each featuring 3:21 on the front, symbolic of the third copy of chromosome 21 in trisomy 21, and the NDSS logo on the back or sleeve. For each item purchased, $5 is donated to NDSS. For all non-signature items on the site, 10% will be donated NDSS when you enter National Down Syndrome Society at checkout.

If you like to wear your cause on your sleeve, but not on your shirt, create a bracelet with custom photos and text through NDSS Partner BandAbout. Your bracelet will honor and celebrate a person in your life who has Down syndrome and will represent why this cause is a priority to you. Each bracelet is $5. NDSS will receive a donation of $2 for each purchase. Wear your bracelet during Down Syndrome Awareness Month and throughout the year! BandAbout also has a dedicated Buddy Walk® shop, so you can make bracelets that represent your team and wear them to your Walk!

Taking advantage of any of these great partnerships will not only support NDSS, but provide you with a great awareness piece and photo opp for your blog!     

My Great Story Campaign: Share Your Story
The My Great Story campaign seeks to ignite a new way of thinking about people with Down syndrome by sharing stories written by and about them. Those who submit a story can choose from several sections, including one devoted exclusively to Buddy Walk® stories. Whether or not you're attending a Buddy Walk® this year, as a blogger you likely share stories about yourself and your family each time you post. We'd love to hear them!

Once your story is added to the collection, you'll be sent a unique link so you can easily find it within the online storybook. All participants are encouraged to share the link with their family and friends and invite them to vote and comment on their stories. The My Great Story of the Month Contest awards a prize to the top voted story each month. The story is also featured on our My Great Story of the Month Winners Pinterest board. The top two stories are highlighted in our monthly e-newsletter.

Click the submit bookmark in the online storybook to share your story!

Advocate with NDSS: Two Great Ways to Get Involved 

If you're looking to become more involved with NDSS advocacy efforts, we invite you to learn more about the NDSS DS-Ambassador Program. DS-Ambassadors are volunteer advocates of all abilities committed to taking part in the democratic process and serving as liaisons between NDSS and their Congressional Delegations.  The goal of the program is to build long-lasting relationships with US Senators and US Representatives to continually raise awareness, educate and advocate for public policy solutions that benefit the Down syndrome community at the federal level. You can meet some of our DS-Ambassadors on our dedicated Pinterest board and share their inspirational words with your readers.  


You can also use your blog to encourage anyone with an interest in the Down syndrome community to sign up to receive NDSS email advocacy alerts. We'll let you know who to contact and when in order to positively impact Down syndrome legislative activities. A quick phone call or submitting a form email is usually all it takes to affect positive changes for people with Down syndrome!  

Social Media: Go Viral 
Down Syndrome Awareness Month is a great opportunity to use not only your blog, but other forms of social media to spread the word. We encourage you to follow NDSS on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube, and like and share what you see to further raise awareness this October.  
  • Visit the NDSS Facebook and Twitter pages for updates and news throughout the month. Use hashtag #DSAM2013 on Twitter to join the Down Syndrome Awareness Month conversation.  
  • On Pinterest, check out our Down Syndrome Facts & Figures board and other boards for a quick and easy way to share information with friends and family. If you've been to a Buddy Walk® this season, send a photo with a caption to buddywalk@ndss.org for a chance to be added to the Buddy Walk® board.
  • The NDSS YouTube channel has dozens of videos that cover our resources, to advocacy, to the Buddy Walk®, to the My Great Story Video Project and more. With something for everyone, choose a video that speaks to you and post it on your blog.  

Down Syndrome Awareness Month at NDSS.org 
There's more where this came from! If you're still looking for more post ideas or ways to celebrate this October, check out our Down Syndrome Awareness Month page at ndss.org/DSAM2013. Please share the link throughout the month of October so your followers can learn more about all of the great ways to get involved!