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Submitted by The Family & Friends Down Syndrome Association of Niagara Inc.
The Family & Friends Down Syndrome Association of Niagara Inc. announces its 23rd annual Buddy Walk of Buffalo/Niagara, WNY’s Down Syndrome awareness walk of Buffalo and Niagara County. The event will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 7, as part of the Niagara County Peach Festival parade in Lewiston.
Advance registration and shirt ordering is encouraged and can be done at www.dsaniagara.org. Registration is mandatory for all participants. One may also register on site at the registration table on the front lawn of the Red Brick Municipal Building, North Fourth and Onondaga streets.
The Family and Friends Down Syndrome Association of Niagara is an affiliate of The National Down Syndrome Society, the leading human rights organization for people with Down syndrome. Its primary mission is to advocate, educate and celebrate all individuals with Down syndrome.
“Our main focus is to raise communitywide positive awareness and facilitate meaningful inclusion of all people with Down syndrome in everyday community life as a valued and contributing member of society,” a press release stated. It added, “There is nothing down about this walk at all! In fact, everyone is all smiles in anticipation of a fun-filled day participating in the parade and festivities in the ever-popular Lewiston Kiwanis Peach Festival!”
The Family and Friends Down Syndrome Association is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization consisting of parents, friends and self-advocates.
“We serve as a resource and referral for new and expectant parents, reimbursement for transportation expenses for children requiring medical care out of NYS through our ‘Miles of Care’ program, and support building inclusive communities such as the recent development of the MT inclusive playground in Lewiston,” the press release said. “Further, this year we combine our efforts with GiGi’s Playhouse of Buffalo in support of a GiGi’s Achievement Center to be established to serve our WNY children (and) families, in addition to offering professional development.”
Proceeds from this year’s Buddy Walk of Buffalo/Niagara will help GiGi’s Playhouse and benefit people of all ages living with Down syndrome in Erie and Niagara counties.
“GiGi’s Playhouse changes lives through the consistent delivery of therapeutic-based, educational and career development programs for individuals with Down syndrome, their families, and the community. Best of all, these purposeful programs for all ages are 100% free to families, as cost should not be a barrier to achievement!” the press release noted. “With over 45 brick and mortar achievement centers across the United States and in Mexico, GiGi’s Playhouse’s replicable operation model delivers centralized tools and resources so local teams can focus on serving families and engaging with the broader community. We are 99% volunteer run and serve over 17,000 families nationwide.
“Thanks to the Western New York community, GiGi’s Playhouse Buffalo is opening its doors in December of this year. For detailed and more up-to-date information, please log on to www.gigiplayhouse.org/buffalo.”
For a complete list of resources, information and Buddy Walks, visit www.ndss.org.