Connexions Blog

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

Spreading Joy - #dsconnexus

By Jen Franklin Kearns, ds-connex team member

During these uncertain times, ds-connex is eager to illustrate that our community is strong and connected. To that end, we have two fun new campaigns to enjoy while we’re all spending more time at home.

Birthday Celebrations

We want to help your family recognize your children’s birthdays that may occur during our time at home this spring! It may not be the same as having a party, but we can help you celebrate! To have your children’s March and April birthdays recognized, please send their name, age (optional), and a high-quality photo to We will post special greetings on our Facebook and Instagram to help wish your kiddos (of all ages!) a happy birthday.

dsconnex Facebook birthday image    


Stay-at-Home Shenanigans

Are you sharing your family’s daily antics on Instagram during this time of social distancing and quarantine? We want to see how you are spending your days! Tag ds-connex (@dsconnex) in your stories and posts and use #dsconnexus, and we will reshare your fun stay-at-home adventures! Let’s find a way to spread joy during these long days at home.

Please note: by submitting photos or tagging ds-connex on social media, you are granting permission for ds-connex to share that info on our social media channels.


Re-imagining Your World Down Syndrome Day Celebrations

By Jen Franklin Kearns, ds-connex team member

Many organizations and community groups have plans to celebrate World Down Syndrome Day in a big way. Unfortunately, health concerns are causing wrinkles in those plans, and most events have been canceled. While gathering together to recognize World Down Syndrome Day is preferred in most cases, a cancellation doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t acknowledge this important day. With social media, we can still unite together on 3/21 to raise awareness and acceptance for Down syndrome.

Here is a list of ideas we have compiled to help you brainstorm fun ways for your organization to commemorate World Down Syndrome Day online:

  • Create a hashtag and encourage your members to include it on each of their posts.
  • dsconnex Facebook frame for World Down Syndrome Day

  • Create a profile photo frame for Facebook. (Please note: Facebook does need time to approve your design, so this should be done ASAP.) You can also use the ds-connex WDSD profile frame to spread awareness!
  • Invite members/community members to make fun videos and send them to your organization to post on Facebook.
  • Invite members/community members to schedule a time to go live on Facebook to read a story or share information about Down syndrome.
  • Invite members to send in photos to be included in a video compilation.
  • Encourage your community to tag your organization in posts on Facebook and Instagram so they can be reshared.
  • Create a printable that families can print and hold in their photos and videos (or they can write the hashtag you create for 3/21 on a piece of paper if they don't have access to a printer, are out of ink, etc)
  • Have a “virtual sock hop” and encourage your members to hold a dance party at home in their mismatched socks. You can create a playlist to share with your members, and they can tag your organization in their videos on social media. (The free version of Spotify allows you to build and share a playlist!)
  • To add to the fun, you may want to consider having a drawing for e-gift cards (Starbucks, Amazon, John's Crazy Socks, and Grubhub all have digital card options) for those who send in or tag photos/videos on 3/21. This will encourage participation and add to the celebratory vibe of the campaign.
  • dsconnex printable sign for World Down Syndrome Day

    Click here to download the ds-connex World Down Syndrome Day sign.  

    You can follow along on our Facebook and Instagram, where we are sharing ideas that were submitted to us for our World Down Syndrome Day giveaway, to collect ideas for next year. We’re sharing ideas daily, and at the end of the week we’ll post an album containing all of the entries on Facebook, and the entries will also be featured in an Instagram story on Friday.

    We realize that many will be disappointed because highly anticipated events must be canceled in order to observe public health guidelines and protect the most vulnerable members of our community. However, this doesn’t mean that we can’t come together and find a way to unite and share a positive message about Down syndrome. In the end, it’s not really how we celebrate but why, and we can certainly move forward with plans to share this message online.


    Win Awareness Items to Celebrate World Down Syndrome Day!

    By Jen Franklin Kearns, ds-connex team member

    World Down Syndrome Day 2020 is quickly approaching, and we can’t wait to begin the celebration! In fact, we’re so excited that we don’t want just one day of recognition, so we’re extending the party to 21 days!!

    This year, ds-connex wants to know how you recognize World Down Syndrome Day! Send us the details of your celebrations, along with a photo, so we can share your fabulous ideas. Your plans just might inspire another family to begin a new tradition in their school, workplace, or neighborhood - this is how we build and strengthen our community!

    We will feature your ideas across our social media channels, beginning 3/1. On 3/20, all of the ideas will be compiled into an Instagram story (be sure to follow us - @dsconnex!), where they will live as a highlight on our Instagram. In addition to the social media features, you will also be eligible to win a prize package (containing items to share and spread awareness in your community) or a donation to your Down syndrome fundraising team. Prizes will be randomly drawn on March 4th, and winners will be notified by email and announced on our social media.

    Don’t delay - send us your entries today, and let’s get this party started!

    Contest Details:

    Starting today, send your entries to Entries must include a description of how your family observes World Down Syndrome Day, along with a photo. We must receive your entries by Friday, February 28 to be eligible for prizes. Three prizes will be awarded, and winners will be randomly selected on March 4th, 2020. Prize packs will include awareness items to share at school, church, or daycare; winners will have an opportunity to provide input on the items in the collection. If a team donation is selected, it will be in the amount of $100 and will be awarded when the team’s online fundraising site opens. By submitting content for the World Down Syndrome Day 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.

    It's A Perfect Time to Thank Your Team Supporters

    Author: Jen Franklin Kearns, ds-connex team member

    Thanksgiving will soon be upon us, and many of us have turned our thoughts to identifying the things in our lives for which we’re most grateful. While practicing gratitude should be high on our list of priorities all year long, it’s especially prominent in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving.

    Team Captains, it’s important to thank the team members and donors who were part of your fundraising and awareness efforts in 2019.

    Team Alex Thank You

    There are so many reasons to be thankful for those who participated with your team, in one way or another, this year. They may have assisted with fundraisers, walked with your team, secured a sponsorship, volunteered at the event, or shared your social media posts. Each of these actions can generate a sizable impact for not only your team, but also your Down syndrome organization.

    No matter how they showed their support, your team members and donors showed up for your loved one with Down syndrome, and they should be properly recognized.

    There are many ways to thank your team members and donors, but the most important element is sincerely expressing your appreciation. You could send a photo with a handwritten note, write a thoughtful email, or create a Facebook post (remembering that not everyone uses social media, it’s best to do this in addition to the notes!). Letting them know the ways their support with benefit the Down syndrome community is also important!

    Events using our Stride fundraising platform offer their team captains an advantage in that their team and donor rosters are available on their event site, and these rosters include mailing and email addresses, making it very easy to send out a thank you note. Our free app, Team Snapshot, even offers the option of sending an email right from your mobile device! With these resources, acknowledging the support of family, friends, and coworkers can be quick and easy.

    Ds-connex partner GRADSA encourages their team captains to stay in touch with their teams’ supporters all year, sending updates and photos of their loved ones with Down syndrome. Posting updates to social media accounts dedicated to your team is another great way to stay engaged with your supporters. Building a strong connection is important in securing support for your future fundraising and awareness endeavors. These efforts will also serve as a way to keep your supporters informed on all the amazing accomplishments your loved one with Down syndrome achieves throughout the year!

    No matter how you choose to recognize those who contributed to your fundraising and awareness initiatives in 2019, it’s an important task to complete before we turn our sights to 2020.