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2018 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Central Florida Down Syndrome Association Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Human Service Organizations, Human Services

Mission: DSACF is the leading voice for individuals with Down syndrome and its mission is to offer hope, encouragement and acceptance through advocacy, education and awareness so that each may realize their potential as members of our community.

Geographic areas served: Orange, Seminole, Osceola, Volusia, Lake, Polk, and Brevard counties

Programs: Events & advocacy 1. Florida down syndrome conference - 211 attendees with over 150 families. Help to educate families, professionals, therapists, teachers, and others and persons with down syndrome. Conference included 18 topics that cover the lifespan of needs for individuals with down syndrome. Attendees come from florida, the united states and internationally. Dsacf received donated space and graphic design services for this conference valued at 10,000 (this revenue is not included for 990 purposes). 2. Low down on law day - twice a year dsacf helps to present a program on law for people with disabilities that are turning 18. Utilizing the expertise of attorneys, judges and experts in the field, we educate families that have a loved one with down syndrome and other disabilities on options, opportunities, and how to navigate governmental requirements. Families get information packets and get their questions answered by the experts. We offer this free program to approximately 100 people twice a year to empower them with everything that they need to do that could otherwise cost them thousands. 3. Special clinic for special kids - free annual medical clinic for children with down syndrome to meet with 35+ specialists. This unique one day clinic serves approximately 90 families. Dsacf received donated medical volunteer services valued at 95,842 (this revenue is not included for 990 purposes). 4. Step up for down syndrome buddy walk - this family fun festival celebrates individuals with down syndrome. It includes a 1 mile fun walk, bounce houses, carnival style rides, games, face painting, live entertainment/dance, food, a resource tent and lots of fun over 6,000 families, friends and community partners attended this event that provides community awareness, family resources and entertainment for all. The walk helps families that have a loved one with down syndrome get connected to others while providing fun for their family members of all ages. Many say the buddy walk is the highlight of the year for their family 5. Universal family fun day at universal studios - dsacf arranges, manages, and facilitates a day of fun at universal studios. Volunteers take families on vip tours at the theme park, letting them enjoy 2 parks, characters, and special meet and greets throughout the day.

new parents & infants / young children 1. New parent packages - dsacf provides new parents information, resources, and gifts that we deliver to the hospital or send to the home to offer hope and encouragement. We delivered over 40 new parent packages throughout the year. 2. New family celebrations - we invite 30-40 people each quarter that have babies under the age of 2 to get families with new babies with down syndrome connected, informed, and inspired. We have 3-4 mentor families at each inspiring event that share their journey with down syndrome and are able to introduce the new families to children that are older and let them ask questions and get their questions answered. 3. Baby basics occupational therapy series - in the spring and fall we have an occupational therapist do a 4 week series to educate parents of babies and toddlers about sensory integration, fine motor skills, and also teach them about propoceptive, vestibular, kinesthetic and other systems of the body that integrate together to help all children. 4. Potty training workshop and other educational workshops - dsacf hosts an annual potty training workshop with over 75 attending to learn applied behavorial analysis methods for potty training. We also host more than 5 other workshops on multiple topics that help empower families and educate them on what is important to them. 5. Pre-school readiness camp - in collaboration with rollins college early childhood education (ece), this program uses donated facilites at rollins ece program and trained teachers for their school to facilitate this award winning program. This 3 week summer camp teaches the children aged 3, 4 and 5 skills tht will help them have success in preschool and elementary school. The children learn skills like transitioning, following class rules, following schedules, making friends, and more. It includes art, physical fitness time at the playground, and academic skills. Open to children with down syndrome and their same aged siblings, it is an inclusive and authentic preschool experience. 6. Therapy scholarships - we gave scholarships and awards of 8,000 in therapy scholarships to children aged 0-3 for occupational therapy, speech therapy, or physical therapy.

children / teens / adults 1. Teen social skills series - throughout the year dsacf hosts several series of social skills classes. Designed for teens and facilitated by a licensed social worker with expertise in intellectual disabilites, these series are some of the most popular programs. The teens make friends, discuss their highs and lows, and learn skills to become more social. The series ends with a pizza party and social. 2. Project a+ literacy - weekly tutoring sessions offered free of charge to teach reading skills and improve reading for adults with down syndrome. Offered free of cost. 3. Employability workshop for self-advocates - 4-6 week series that gives self-advocates many soft skills for employment including interviewing techniques, dress for success, social skills for the workplace, timeliness, dependability, and more at completion of this program the participant will be better equiped to get a job and to have the skills to maintain the position. 4. Buddy up tennis - these 10 fitness and wellness session series teach the game of tennis and so much more participants gain life skills, make friends, learn a new game, and have fun. Coaches give tennis skills training and buddy volunteers are matched up with the self-advocate athletes for a rewarding, enriching experience for all.

Community Stories

26 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This association is just incredible. The amount of support they provide is absolutely astounding and I love watching them make a difference in every life they touch. They truly are a remarkable group of individuals working together to create a supportive, unified community for those they serve. Absolutely love what they're doing for our community.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

When our daughter, Holly, was born with Down syndrome, the diagnosis was a shock to us. We were unfamiliar with the genetic condition and completely overwhelmed. The Central Florida Down Syndrome Association was there for us within weeks of Holly's birth. We were introduced to a huge supportive community and a world of resources was laid at our feet. They have helped us navigate our new world in all aspects (medical, legal, emotional, and social). Most importantly, they are showing the world what we now know: people with Down syndrome are amazing! This organization continuously advocates for equality, opportunity, respect, and human rights. We are lucky to have them!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Everyone here is absolutely a gift from heaven. They helped make a young mans dream come true and everyone involved has said how our lives changed for the better.

Thank You all so much!!!!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Such an incredible organization that not only loves on families and children with Down syndrome through programs and support, but also brings awareness to the Central Florida community.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I found the DSACF at a very dark, and confusing time during my pregnancy. My son was diagnosed with Down Syndrome at 18 weeks gestation. My husband and I were lost as we didn't know much of anything about Down Syndrome. Google searches scared us and other's opinions were grim. Luckily, the DSACF was just a phone call away and welcomed us with open arms into a beautiful, bright community.

At the DSACF Success Center we've joined an infant/toddler play group which has helped us create friendships with other local parents. I've had the opportunity to team up with the Association and tell our story on many occasions in hopes that our struggle can help another family's new diagnosis.

We have found joy and happiness at the DSACF and consider them family. We owe everything to them for helping us raise our son properly.

WE LOVE THE DSACF!

Marit L.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Love this organization. Full of support great classes and courses. Affiliated with several sport events and groups. Entrepreneur academy. Social clubs. Dance music & art. A very important resource fir the Down syndrome Comunity.

Jennifer Ann B.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Two years ago we received a birth diagnosis of Down syndrome for our daughter. When we found out about the Down Syndrome Association of Central Florida we immediately connected with them and they welcomed us with open arms. They have become our family. They are such an amazing organization that does so many wonderful things for our kids. I don't know what I would do without them. They offer support, guidance, a shoulder to lean on. We have made life long friends with the families we have met and enjoy being able to go the events that the DSACF host. Thank you for all you do for our kids!!!

Whitney M.1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The Down Syndrome Association provides services and advocacy for people with Down syndrome across the life span. The organization goes above and beyond for its members and works to create a community that supports and encourages each other. I cannot say enough good things about this organization.

Client Served

Rating: 5

We moved to central Florida a year ago. Our biggest concern was that our 27 year old daughter was not happy with the move. Thanks to the DSACF, she has become CEO of her business Doggy Delights by Allison. She has made new friends and has adjusted to our new life. THANK YOU DSACF!

Client Served

Rating: 5

There are so many great programs, education, and social opportunities for families with a loved one with Down syndrome of any age! Thank you DSACF for all you do!

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter started a business in Entrepreneur Academy!

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

The Down Syndrome Association of Central Florida has been designed to be a first stop for anyone that is impacted by Down Syndrome - from the moment a diagnosis occurs or any point along someones journey. From parent support groups and sibling groups to medical conferences and job experience, this organization goes out of their way on a regular basis to make an impact. And they do it with far less than other organizations. From parents to the community, DSACF leaves a positive long lasting impact. I encourage others to volunteer, participate, donate and invest in this amazing organization!

Catherine Green D.

Board Member

Rating: 5

DSACF is amazing and does a tremendous job of helping individuals and families of individuals with Down syndrome in the central Florida area.

Diane Saulon L.

Board Member

Rating: 5

The DSACF offers so many amazing programs, in all types of developmental areas (physical, social, intellectual, etc.) all year long. Everything from sports to dance class to potty training courses to seminars about educational and legal rights. Staff is so supportive as is their community. Don’t know what our family would do without them.

Client Served

Rating: 5

DSACF is an amazing organization that has benefited my daughter and family immensely!!! The support and educational programs it has provided is second-to-none!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

In one capacity or another, I’ve been involved with Central Florida Down Syndrome Association for nearly twenty years. I can say, without a doubt, that I have never met a group of people that is as dedicated, kind, loving, and supportive as the staff of CFDSA.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I use their services, and the leadership is top notch.

Donor

Rating: 5

We support the Down Syndrome Association of Central Florida for being inclusive, forward thinking and helpful to everyone who contacts them. Their warm and generous hearts can be seen by anyone whose lives they have touched. Thank you for being so amazing.

Janet Crombie B.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Three years ago our daughter got a prenatal diagnosis of Down Syndrome for her baby. It turned all of our world's upside down, and the DSACF was invaluable in putting it right side up again. Over those three years we have made strong friendships with other members and attended so many valuable events/seminars etc. including sign language classes, medical clinics, educational strategy sessions. Every one of them has helped us to help our grandson, and we heartily recommend their work.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

DSACF is a wonderful organization! Whether you are looking for membership or volunteer opportunities, they always exceed expectations and are always looking for ways to help the community!