Did you know that March 21st is the 11th anniversary of World Down Syndrome Day? It is a day when friends from all over the world have activities and events to help raise awareness of what Down syndrome is, what it means to have Down syndrome, and how people with Down syndrome play a vital role in our lives and communities.
I am so proud to have been asked to be in an advisory capacity on the Board of F.R.I.E.N.D.S Down Syndrome – Tampa whose mission it is to provide all encompassing educational and support services to families who have been impacted by Down Syndrome, while promoting complete community integration of those impacted by Down Syndrome. F.R.I.E.N.D.S. is a non-profit organization that relies on donations and fundraisers to help provide support and free information for families with Down Syndrome children. The organization tries to get involved from the moment a family receives the initial diagnosis in order to help the family look beyond their child’s diagnosis and delight in the joys of parenthood. Members or the organization seek to help the families understand new terminology, and find support and services that will help their child successfully grow.
This year, F.R.I.E.N.D.S. is kicking off fundraising to bring a Gigi’s Playhouse Down Syndrome Achievement Center to the Tampa Bay area. Gigi’s Playhouse serves individuals with Down Syndrome and their families to provide them with therapeutic, educational and career development programs, while fostering greater acceptance and providing networking opportunities for parents and siblings. Sadly, there are currently no Down Syndrome facilities in the Hillsborough & Pinellas Counties and limited centers for expanded opportunities for learning and skill development. The best thing about Gigi’s is that, through fundraising efforts of volunteers, the programs that Gigi’s offers are 100% free – cost will never be a barrier to the achievement of an individual.
Stay tuned to my blog to receive updates as to when we will have a website up and running for the Tampa Bay chapter of Gigi’s Playhouse and when we will be ready to break ground for a site for Gigi’s. In the meantime, check out the F.R.I.E.N.D.S’ website at www.friendssupport.org to donate to this group, and www.gigisplayhouse.org to get more information about this fantastic program that we will be bringing to Hillsborough County, Florida!
Attorney Laurie Ohall is active in her community and cares about outreach. To get in touch with her please call 813.438.8503 or contact her law office online.