Connexions Blog

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



Ds-connex is excited to announce our new contest: MyVIP!

Author: Jen Franklin Kearns, ds-connex team member

As parents, our journeys in the Down syndrome community are a rewarding, yet complicated (and often exhausting!) experience. We could probably all agree that it takes a village to support our families, and families in the Down syndrome community may need an even stronger tribe. Many times, teachers, coaches, paraprofessionals, caregivers, and mentors are proud members of our villages and play key roles in the lives of our loved ones with Down syndrome. To recognize these amazing relationships, ds-connex is proud to announce the My VIP campaign! Beginning Monday, April 15th, we invite you to submit a video or photo of your child with someone who plays an important role in their life. We can’t wait to celebrate those who make such a difference in the lives of kids with Down syndrome.

The nominators with the top three posts (the videos or photos with the most likes) on our campaign’s Facebook album will receive a $125 (first prize), $75 (second) or $50 (third) donation from ds-connex to their Down syndrome fundraising team along with a $25 Amazon e-gift card for their child’s VIP.

    How to Nominate a VIP

Starting Monday, April 15, 2019 you can nominate the terrific VIPs in your child’s life by submitting a video or photo and a brief story to contests@ds-connex.org. Nominations may be submitted April 15th – May 5th. All entries must be received by the end of the day on 5/5 in order to be included in the contest. Please provide videos that are under 60 seconds in length, or high quality photographs (not photos copied from your social media accounts...those won’t render well when we post them!). We will post all nominations to an album on the ds-connex Facebook page on the afternoon of Monday, May 6th, when voting will begin. We will tally the likes each nomination receives on their respective video or photo in the album. The voting will close at 12pm EST on Monday, May 13, 2019. The winners will be announced later that day via the ds-connex Facebook page. All nominators, VIPs, and schools/organizations associated with the VIPs are encouraged to promote the contest and ask friends and family members on Facebook to like their nomination post. We also encourage participants to like the ds-connex Facebook page so they can stay informed of any upcoming contest opportunities.

    And the Winner Is…

The nominators for the top three posts (most likes on their album video or photo) will receive a $125 (first prize), $75 (second) or $50 (third) donation from ds-connex to their Down syndrome fundraising team along with a $25 Amazon e-gift card for their child’s VIP.

MYVIP

The three VIPs will be announced on ds-connex social media on the afternoon of Monday, May 13th. We will highlight selected nominations, chosen at random, throughout the campaign period.

By nominating someone for the My VIP campaign, you are giving ds-connex permission to share your submission via our Connexions blog and across multiple social platforms in order to raise awareness and appreciation of teachers, mentors, coaches, paraprofessionals, caregivers, and mentors in the Down syndrome community. Please note that this contest is sponsored by ds-connex.

We look forward to seeing your My VIP entries soon and hearing some great stories about the important people in your child’s life!


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.