Connexions Blog

"Building stronger communities by sharing inspiration, advice, and best practices that work".



Ds-Connex Champions - Celebrating Individuals with Down Syndrome

Author: Jen Franklin Kearns, ds-connex team member

World Down Syndrome Day 2019 is quickly approaching, and we are pleased to announce the return of our year-long campaign: ds-connex Champions!

World Down Syndrome Day is a day for spreading awareness and encouraging advocacy, and it has become an important holiday within the global Down syndrome community. Whether you are rocking your socks, sharing acts of kindness, or hosting a fundraiser for your walk team, you are part of a movement which serves to illustrate that individuals with Down syndrome are equal and capable members of our communities.

We believe this movement should continue past 3/21, and that the accomplishments of individuals with Down syndrome should be celebrated all year long. On World Down Syndrome Day 2019, we will launch the second annual ds-connex Champions campaign to recognize the milestones, major accomplishments, and everyday achievements of our loved ones with Down syndrome. We know just how much hard work is put into those first words, riding a bike, acing a test, earning a first paycheck, and every single thing in between…and we’re ready to celebrate it all!

We invite parents and self-advocates to send us photos and a brief description of the accomplishment, big or small, that you would like to see featured. Self-advocates, you can also choose to send a photo and finish this sentence: “My dream is to ______.

ds-connex champions

We invite parents and self-advocates to send us photos and a brief description of the accomplishment you would like to see featured; please email your submissions to contests@ds-connex.org. We will feature individuals on our social media channels so the entire community can join us in recognizing these achievements, and our Champions will be entered into a random monthly drawing for a gift card. To see examples of the wonderful submissions from 2018, please click ds-connex champions.

We can’t wait to begin this extended celebration!

Please note: by submitting content for the ds-connex Champions campaign, you are granting ds-connex permission to edit your submission for grammar and/or length, and use the submitted photo and story in ds-connex social media posts and website. We will only use the first name of the featured individual in our promotions. We will begin accepting submissions now, and the posts will be shared beginning March 21, 2019. Gift card winners will be selected on the 21st of each month from the pool of all submissions received at the time of the drawing, and winners will be notified via email (should the 21st fall on a weekend, the winner will be announced on the following Monday).

(Please note: When submitting an entry from a mobile device, please be advised that the “connex” segment of our email address may be autocorrected, preventing your entry from reaching us. If you do not receive a confirmation of your entry, please try sending it again.)


Parade of Gingerbread Houses - enter for a chance to win an Amazon gift card!

Author: Jen Franklin Kearns, ds-connex team member

The holiday season is upon us, and that brings many traditions that we enjoy with our families. Many of us take the time to decorate gingerbread houses, which are then proudly displayed as the holidays come and go. It doesn’t matter if they are artfully created, or lovingly thrown together by little hands, each of these houses (and the memories that are attached to them) are cherished long after the season is over.

GingerBread House

Wednesday, December 12th is National Gingerbread Day, and ds-connex wants to see your sweet creations! Send us a photo of your decorated gingerbread house by December 17th for a chance to win a $25 Amazon e-gift card. We can’t wait to see your entries!

Entries must include a photo and brief description (including your name and the Down syndrome association with which your family is affiliated), and should be emailed to contests@ds-connex.org by 11:59pm EST on 12/17 to be considered for the prize drawing. When submitting entries using a mobile device, please ensure that “ds-connex” is not autocorrected (we’d hate to miss out on receiving your entry!). One winner will be randomly selected on Tuesday, December 18th and announced on the ds-connex Facebook page; the winner will also be contacted via email. We will share random entries across our social media platforms, and all entries will be shared in an album on Facebook after December 17th. This promotion is sponsored by ds-connex.


It’s Time to Recognize the Super Sibs!

Author: Jen Franklin Kearns, ds-connex team member

This October, in observance of Down Syndrome Awareness Month, we are excited to once again recognize the Super Sibs of our loved ones with Down syndrome! Siblings tend to be very aware of the impact of having a brother or sister with extra needs, and we often hear amazing stories about how they love, encourage, and embrace both the highs and lows of their relationships with their siblings with Down syndrome. We want to take the opportunity to highlight these examples, because we believe that children are the key to a future of an inclusive world. Furthermore, we know that these Super Sibs are key players in leading this movement.

Super Sibs


Please join us in applauding the amazing sibling relationships within the Down syndrome community. To view the submissions for 2017, please click: 2017 Super Sibs Album. The contest details are outlined below; we can’t wait to read about your Super Sibs!

Contest details:

Contest entries should be submitted via email to contests@ds-connex.org, beginning September 25th. All submissions will require a photo with a brief story (3-4 sentences) of how the sibling is supportive of their family member with Down syndrome.



We will accept submissions through the end of October. Randomly selected entries will be used as content for the ds-connex Facebook page beginning 10/1. All submissions will be included in an album to be hosted on the ds-connex Facebook page, which will be posted at the end of October. By entering into the contest, you are granting ds-connex permission to edit your submission for grammar and/or length, and use the submitted photo and story in ds-connex social media posts and website. We will only use the first name of siblings in our promotions.

(Please note: When submitting an entry from a mobile device, please be advised that the “connex” segment of our email address may be autocorrected, preventing your entry from reaching us. If you do not receive a confirmation of your entry, please try sending it again.)

We will have a random drawing to select 10 winners, who will each be awarded $25 gift cards. Winners will be announced on the ds-connex Facebook page on November 1st. Winners can select to receive an Amazon e-gift card, a Target gift card by mail, or a Barnes & Noble by mail.


Ds-connex Presents: The Fourth Annual Summer of FUN-draising Contest!

Author: Jen Franklin Kearns, ds-connex team member

Summer days are full of fun and adventure, and we know that team captains in the Down syndrome community are also busy hosting fundraisers for their teams. We love the creativity we see, year after year, as team captains work diligently to create fundraising opportunities to support the efforts of their local Down syndrome associations.

Team fundraisers have a key role in supporting Down syndrome events. Our research reports show that 60% of top team captains host fundraisers for their teams.

How are you raising funds for your team? We want to hear from you!

From Tuesday, July 24th to Thursday, August 23rd, send us a photo from one of your team fundraisers and a short description of how the event impacts your team for the chance to win one of four $100 donations to your team from ds-connex. Team fundraisers can come in all shapes and sizes, including golf outings, ice cream socials, garage sales, kickball tournaments and more. The sky is the limit, and we are excited to learn about your fundraisers!

2018 Summer of Fundraising

Photo submissions can be emailed to ds-connex at contests@ds-connex.org. Images can be from a fundraising event for this year or last year. By submitting a photo, you are giving ds-connex permission to edit your submission for grammar/length, and share your submission via the Connexions blog and across multiple social platforms in order to raise awareness and appreciation of your fundraising efforts on behalf of the Down syndrome community. All submitted fundraising ideas will be shared on the ds-connex social media outlets with the goal of inspiring the Down syndrome community with creative fundraising ideas for team captains across the country. (Please note: When submitting an entry from a mobile device, please be advised that the “connex” segment of our email address may be autocorrected, preventing your entry from reaching us. If you do not receive a confirmation of your entry, please try sending it again.)

One entry will be randomly selected on the following Fridays; 8/3, 8/10, 8/17, and 8/24 to win a $100 donation from ds-connex to their team. The winning entries will be announced each Friday at 2pm Eastern. The earlier you enter, the more chances you have to win!

We look forward to seeing and sharing your Summer of Fun-draising entries!