By Deanna Tharpe, DSAIA Executive Director
Over the last few weeks, I have had the opportunity to spend some quality time with Down syndrome groups across the country. A couple of weeks ago, I was in Georgia. I spent some time in Tennessee and even made a little time in Texas last week. Yesterday, I was on the East Coast visiting with a member. Today, Joe Meares (DSAIA Board President) and I are visiting with a group in Indiana. I’m going to New York on Thursday. No, I haven’t been jet-setting. Actually, I’ve been using webinar technology to talk to groups about DSAIA’s resources and how to access them.
For current affiliates, I’m doing “refresher” courses for board and staff. For groups considering membership, I’m giving them an up-close and personal tour of the website and answering questions/concerns. And it’s made me realize how important it is for us to offer this type of opportunity to our current members. Many of our groups only have one or two people with access to DSAIA resources. Why is that, I wondered? I always encourage our members to add their entire board and any committee chairs to the system. But then, some groups have everyone in the system and only a few are accessing it. Then an affiliate leader asked if they could give their log-in to another person in their group….what? Yes! Well, NO! They should have their own access! And better yet, let me show you how to take control of your membership, revise your list yourself, give everyone in your leadership individual access, and make the most of your investment. (But I digress….)
Although I would love to hop a plane and visit with groups in person, I think we have found a way to have those personal discussions without the airfare cost. And that is why I’d like to come visit your group ‘virtually’. We can even video chat! Beginning in March, I’m scheduling a monthly “visit” for those members who would like a tour of the “facility” or would just like to get to know DSAIA or me better. It’ll be limited to fifteen attendees each session, a group small enough to allow open conversation and even – yes – video chat! It’ll be at the same day and time each month. Think of your new walk chair or staff member…just have them attend the monthly “tour” and they’ll be up to speed on DSAIA resources and ready to go! And if your entire board needs a “tour”, then I can schedule a meeting just for your group at a day/time convenient for all of you. Look for more details on the first session in our March newsletter. In the meantime, I’m getting ready (and very excited) to see lots of you in person at the conference in two weeks. See you in DC – and online – very soon!