October 27, 2012
I was first referred to the President of this organization by the legal host of a weekly radio show that counseled families on the services offered to their children with disabilities on Long Island. As a former special education teacher for over three decades and author of a book about my sister who was born with Down syndrome in 1948, I was anxious to meet this person, who, like myself was not a parent of a child with a disability but a family member who was moved to provide advocacy and service to the most wonderful collective group of human beings I have ever encountered. Upon attending several of Alexander's Angel events (two annual DOWNrightART Exhibitions that highlight the artistic achievements of those with Down syndrome around the globe; and a Buddy Walk in Eisenhower Park), I was awed by the indefagibility of its President and Co founder, the depth and breadth of her reach to find individuals with Ds who contributed greatly to their communities; her insistence on their ABILITIES rather than on what limits they might face; her willingness to embrace other kinds of goals under her agency's umbrella; the extraordinary imdividuals she would gather to disseminate information on scientific breakthroughs, self advocates sharing their goals and aspirations as well as the obstacles they face; and her extraordinary ability to raise funds from corpoations and sports teams. Not only is the President of this organization a dynamo, but what her efforts accomplish on behalf of inspiring confidence in those with Ds, and appreciation for their many artistic and creative contributions by those in the general public is awe inspiring. This past March, Alexander's Angels hosted a three day event which highlighted paintings, photographs, sculpture, poittery, weavings, etc., from artists with Down syndrome from Australia, England, Puerto Rico, Canada, Alaska, California, Tennessee, New York and various other places in the United States, at a art gallery in midtown Manhattan. Movies, whose main characters had Ds were shown, a panel of self advocates shared their views and what I believe was the first ever panel of siblings of those with Ds in the world, discussed their particular outlooks and concerns for their siblings. A leading scientist also shared his information on clinical trials that might ultimately address breathroughs in cognition, speech and memory for those with Ds. Rarely, does an organization offer this kind of service and diversity to the populations they serve. The advocacy for those with Down syndrome by Alexander's Angels has helped create a more accepting public for this former group of people who were often shunned and always underestimated.
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MY ROLE:Professional with expertise in this field