By Deanna Tharpe, DSAIA Executive Director
If you have heard me tell this story, then bear with me….but it’s a story I like to relate to our members and nonmembers alike. It’s a story that bears repeating to other national organizations, to our conference sponsors and to individual leaders of DS organizations. It’s the story of StepAThon. What, you may ask if you’ve not been in the DSAIA Repository or Webinar Archive, is StepAThon? It’s a fundraising/awareness program that several leaders created after Lynn Neidigh of Down Syndrome Group of the Ozarks brought it to DSAIA’s attention.
Lynn had this brilliant idea but she needed help to develop it. That is where others within the DSAIA membership came in. Leaders from across the country met on conference calls, shared thoughts and vision, worked on separate pieces on their own time, and then finally came up with a product that was introduced in a webinar and submitted for our membership to access in the Repository. To me, this is something that I’d like to see happening again and again in our community. And that is why I’m putting out a call to the DSAIA membership once again….what other types of products should we be collaborating to create or improve upon?
My first thought (and one we have already started to gather around) is an Inclusion Solutions newsletter. Many groups produce a newsletter quarterly or twice a year which is aimed at the educator and includes great ideas and resources. However, each one of these groups is compiling and creating this newsletter on their own. Why???? And then there are the groups with little or no manpower who would LOVE to do this type of communication to educators in their area but cannot. Recently, in the Building Bridges webinar, I asked attendees if they would be interested in pursuing this or if they would find it useful in their organizations. We got a resounding YES!
So….let’s do it, right? Already, DSAIA has contacted groups who create this type of newsletter to get together, split up the duties and produce a product that will go into the DSAIA Repository for others to utilize. The committee is building – so if your group publishes this type of resource…contact us now.
But let’s not stop there! What about a New or Expectant Parent Packet? Lots of groups do their own…perhaps there is an opportunity to put together one that can be edited with local information. What other fundraising ideas might be fleshed out in a group of peers? These don’t have to be ongoing committees, as they will disband when the work is complete. But it does take interested and committed individuals who are looking to make the community as a whole more productive and effective. Hey, guys, this is what DSAIA is all about. And for those who aren’t members….maybe this might enlighten you as to why over 80 groups are. I’m awaiting your call and your ideas!
Contact DSAIA at 701.425.7129 or firstname.lastname@example.org.