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***** UpSide Weekly No. 33 *****
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MDSC Compiles Housing, Recreation, Job Resources for Self-Advocates


Whether in the realm of Housing, Employment or Social/Recreation, self advocates and their families in our community are fortunate that there has been an exponential growth in resources in recent years. However, the potential options can also be overwhelming. 


That's why we've compiled a list of a few resources that we've heard positive things about. 

In our role as a clearinghouse of Down syndrome resources and information for families, we want to help you navigate the maze of options available to self-advocates and their families.  


We hope you will find these helpful as your loved one with Down syndrome plans for the future and creates his or her own unique, fulfilling, and meaningful life. 


Please note that we provide these links as a resource for families but this does not constitute an endorse of any specific service. 

Education Forum Sessions to Mirror New Ed Manual


Mark your calendar to join hundreds of parents and educators on Tuesday, Nov. 18 in Worcester at our 10th Annual Educator's Forum, where you will be treated to a full day of presentations by experts in the field of educating students with Down syndrome. A range of stimulating workshops will bring to life the best practices for educating students with Down syndrome in an inclusive classroom.


This year's breakout sessions will mirror the content of our soon-to-be-released comprehensive Educator's Manual, "Meaningful Inclusion for Students with Down Syndrome - A Resource Guide for Elementary Educators"


This year's Keynote Speaker is Dr. Bill Henderson, the recently retired principal of the O'Hearn School in Dorchester, MA (which has been renamed the William W. Henderson Elementary Inclusion School). Dr. Henderson is a disability advocate and author, most recently, of  "The Blind Advantage: How Going Blind Made me a Stronger Principal and how Including Children with Disabilities Made the School Better for Everyone." 


Stay tuned to email updates and our Facebook page for more information!  

Community Fundraisers Past & Future Help MDSC


Buddy Walk Team Captains Mike and Heather Sexton organized an MDSC Buddy Walk Awareness booth at the Chelmsford Lions Club 4th of July Country Fair and had some fun items to raffle off!


Next month, MDSC Board member Louise Borke will be hosting a CAbi Clothing Fall Collection showing. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to MDSC.


If you would like to organize your own community fundraiser or want more information, contact Becca Canavan at [email protected]

MDSC Grandparents Gather Across Mass.

Grandparents play an important and special role in families! Please join us for informal get-togethers in supportive atmospheres where you can meet other Grandparents, learn more about Down syndrome and discover and share helpful resources.  



Second Saturday of each month

September 13, 2014

October 18, 2014

November 8, 2014

January 10, 2015

10 - 11am

Norwood Public Library

33 Walpole Street (Route 1A)

Norwood, MA 02062

RSVP TO: Kathy Lapsley  

[email protected] 



Saturday, September 6

Saturday, November 1

10 - 11:30am

Centerville Library

585 Main Street

Centerville, MA   02632

RSVP TO: Barbara Sherman[email protected] 


Note:  The Grandparents will be meeting to walk together at the MDSC Buddy Walk by the Sea in Falmouth on Sunday, July 27 at 9:30am - see for more details



Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

7 - 8pm

Wilbraham Public Library

Crane Park (off of Main Street)

Wilbraham, MA  01095

RSVP TO:  Sue Laing     

[email protected] 



Meets Quarterly

Contact Roberta Hoke for details


[email protected] 

Calls Needed NOW to Speaker DeLeo's Office
NBC Bill Passes Key Committee, But Needs Your Help to Keep Moving Forward

The Good News

Our priority legislation, the National Background Check (NBC) Bill is on the move in the Legislature. On Monday, the House Committee on Ways & Means voted the bill out favorably with a few minor technical amendments (Because of the changes, it does have a new number, H.4327). We want to thank Ways & Means for supporting this critical bill, which will close a gap that puts individuals with Down syndrome and other disabilities at risk. 


Next Steps - Contact Speaker DeLeo

H.4327 is now in something called "3rd Reading."  The clock continues to tick before the session ends in just one week. The House has no time to spare.


Please call Speaker Robert DeLeo immediately and ask him to pass the NBC Bill, H.4327, out of 3rd Reading and onto the House Floor for a vote. Here's all you have to do: 
  1. Call Speaker DeLeo's office at 617-722-2500 (or email him at [email protected]) - Be sure to mention if you are a constituent.
  2. Ask him to pass the National Background Check Bill, H.4327, out of 3rd Reading and onto the Floor for a vote. 
  3. Use or adapt the script below. Be sure to include your personal story as much as possible.  


Hi, I'm calling because I have a loved one (son/daughter, brother/sister, myself, cousin, friend, student, etc.) with Down syndrome. The National Background Check Bill (H4237) is critical to protecting people with Down syndrome and other disabilities from potentially dangerous and tragic circumstances. Please pass this legislation out of 3rd Reading and move it onto the House Floor for a vote. Please help close this loophole that allows people with criminal records outside Massachusetts to work with my loved one and others with disabilities! 


Thank you again for your support! 

Whether you're already planning to be on the Cape this weekend or looking for an excuse to, join hundreds of other families at our 4th Buddy Walk by the Sea to support our Down syndrome community and ride a wave of good times. 


The walk, at Falmouth Marine Park, will feature live entertainment by The Atlantic Ave Band, Smitty's Homemade Ice Cream, Nautical Games & Activities, Face-paintin, Auction & Raffle Items. 


Join us to support our mission and make a difference for your loved ones.



online registration closes Friday at noon!


Special guests to include Congressman Bill Keating and local "Self Advocate Ambassadors", who once again have helped plan the big day. This year's ambassadors include Carey Daley of Centerville, Tracey Newhart of Falmouth, and John Derr of Mashpee, all of whom have Down syndrome (pictured above).





All proceeds benefit vital programs and services the MDSC offers including Parents First Call, Advocates in Motion (AIM), Educators Forum, Annual Conference, and Legislative Advocacy.





Two More Buddy Walks to Make a Difference
Registration Open for All Three Walks - Start Your Team!


If you can't make our 4th Annual Buddy Walk by the Sea this weekend, no worries. You'll have two more chances to play your part and gather to celebrate our loved ones with Down syndrome.


The 2nd Annual Buddy Walk & Harvest Fair takes place on September 21 at River Bend Farm in Uxbridge, Central Massachusetts. 


And out biggest event, the 18th Annual Buddy Walk & Family Festival in Wakefield promises to be the perfect finale for the Buddy Walk season. It takes place on Sunday, Oct. 12, right in the middle of National Down Syndrome Awareness Month! Jonathan Elias, WBZ-TV's award winning news anchor and reporter, will emcee our signature walk. 


Join any or all of our Buddy Walks in 2014 to support our mission and make a difference for your loved ones.



Mrs. Diane Patrick was the latest Bostonian to participate in our celebrity-studded Down syndrome Public Service Announcement. The PSA will feature Boston sports stars, television personalities and community leaders speaking about how people with Down syndrome are true Champions - which happens to be theme of this year's 18th Buddy Walk & Family Festival. Below is a recording from three champions who work at the State House and Diane Patrick. 

This year's theme "Champions!" is based on the Boston Strong mentality of people coming together to overcome challenges and the positive sense of community pride that has developed as a result. 
State House Champions with Diane Patrick, Massachusetts First Lady
Falmouth Road Race Runners Gearing Up for Big Day
Support our Team of 20 'Champions' 


Twenty runners are hitting the pavement day-in and day-out to train for the 7-mile Falmouth Road Race on August 17. These individuals are working hard not only for themselves, but to raise critical funds for people with Down syndrome. You can donate to their effort hereJust click "sponsor runner" and plug in their name. Or make a General Donation to support all our programs and services.

Lisa Adelman of Westminster 
Danielle Athanasiadis of Lexington 
Becca Canavan of Allston 
Jim DeVellis of Lexington 
Mary DeVellis of Lexington
Sarah DeVellis of Lexington 
Allison Gandhi Newton
David Granfors of Holliston 
Robyn Granfors of Holliston
Stephen Hawley of Northhampton
Evie Heffernan of Newton
Maggie Heffernan of Newton 
Allison Hogan of Woburn
Josh Komyerov of Somerville 
Emily LaMarca of Clinton 
Melissa Leslie of Worcester
Linda Letourneau of Marston Mills
Shannon Paul of North Attleboro
Chris Petkewich of Leominster
Michael Pettinella of Grafton 
Mary-Kathryn Quinn of Stow
Danny Roads of Marblehead
Tommy Roads of Marblehead
Kyle Ross of Dartmouth
Susan Stratoti of West Bridgewater
Emily Winsor of Dorchester


Support Team MDSC


We can't say enough about these individuals, each of whom is raising critical funds for the MDSC and awareness about Down syndrome. You can read more about each of these competitors here. 

Other Upcoming MDSC Events


D.A.D.S. outing at Davis Farmland, Sterling, Mass.

Sunday, August 3 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM

Contact Jeff Roback at [email protected]  

A great summer outing for the whole family


New Family Social at MDSC Conference Room            

Saturday, September 6 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM

(Grandparents & Siblings Welcome)

20 Burlington Mall Road, Burlington, MA  

RSVP to Sarah Cullen at [email protected]


2nd Annual Buddy Walk & Harvest Fair

Sunday, September 21 10:00 AM - 12:30 PM

River Bend Farm, 287 Oak Street, Uxbridge, MA

Walk with us for what is becoming a Fall classic! 

Register here

Buddy Walk by the Sea Co-Chairs 'Can't Picture Life Without' Their Son Dominic


In their own words, here's why our event co-chairs Jessica & Brian Caprio are working so hard helping to put together the Buddy Walk by the Sea this Sunday:

"Our son Dominic was born, and 5 weeks later we found out that he had Down syndrome. It wasn't detected in utero or even when he was born. The truth of the matter is, although the doctors didn't see it because he looks just like daddy, we both thought to ourselves after he was born that his eyes looked just a bit different. Although it was what we both thought from the start, it still wasn't a diagnosis that we were prepared for. It was extremely difficult to grasp at first, but then we thought 'why shouldn't we have a child with Down syndrome? What makes us any different from the others that have gone before us?' Looking back we can't believe how far we have come as a family. Our son is amazing and is going to do really big things just like our 3 other children. He has made our home a happier and livelier place. We honestly can't picture our lives without him!

The Massachusetts Down syndrome Congress has been a huge support for us from the very beginning. Their Parents First Call program is amazing and put us in touch with some very beautiful and supportive families. Without the positive and beautiful stories they told of their own journeys we wouldn't be where we are today with ours. Which is why chairing this event is so very important- not only to our family but to the entire Down syndrome community. The MDSC has so many wonderful programs like Parents First Call program, Advocates in Motion and advocacy on Beacon Hill for legislation to support individuals with Down syndrome. Our family and team "Dominic's Angels" has set a goal of $6000 to support the MDSC's vital programs and services. It is our way of thanking such a supportive and caring organization for what they have done not only for our family but the entire Down syndrome community."

We hope you join the Caprios and hundreds of others at the Buddy Walk by the Sea on Sunday. You can register here. If you can't make, you can support the Caprios or other Buddy Walk by the Sea teams here



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