Since 2012, residents all over the world have been celebrating World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD) on Monday, March 21 to raise public awareness about the genetic disorder Down syndrome.
March 21, or 3/21, is the symbolic date we celebrate WDSD as it represents the three copies of the 21st chromosome, or trisomy 21, the most common type of Down syndrome.
Down syndrome is a naturally occurring chromosomal condition that presents across all racial, gender and socioeconomic lines and occurs in approximately one out of every 800 live births. Down syndrome usually causes varying degrees of intellectual and physical disabilities, but with today’s health care, proper intervention and training, many individuals can live up to 60 years of age, work and become productive members of society.
In an effort for the community to learn more about Down syndrome, F.R.I.E.N.D.S. and Specially Fit, two nonprofits that provide free programs to our special needs community, are seeking out job opportunities for our special needs adults.
“We want our community to know that most of our adults affected with Down syndrome will complete general education and graduate from school, that our adults can and do hold jobs, but we need your help,” said Ann Foyt, RN, executive director of F.R.I.E.N.D.S. “We are seeking job opportunities in the Brandon/Riverview area and if you have a job that you feel would be a good fit for our adults, please contact us.”
All families who have been impacted by Down syndrome and other special needs are invited to celebrate WDSC on Sunday, March 20 at a celebration and picnic organized by F.R.I.E.N.D.S. and Specially Fit. The group also offers special needs adults (15 years and older) a monthly dance party.
“We offer a safe place to meet up with friends to socialize and have fun,” said Foyt. “It’s a free event, but a $5 donation to help pay for the food and decorations will be greatly appreciated.”
The dances take place on the third Friday of each month at the Riverview Hilton Garden Inn, located at 4328 Garden Vista Dr. in Riverview, from 7-9 p.m.