At Beverly-Hanks, we believe that everyone should have the opportunity and means to Live Abundantly in WNC, even from a young age.
Today, we shine a spotlight on a local organization that works hard to support people born with Down syndrome live rich and inclusive lives. We invite you to learn more about the Western North Carolina Down Syndrome Alliance and how you can help them meet their mission.
What is Down Syndrome?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately one in every 700 babies in the United States is born with Down syndrome. Down syndrome occurs when a child is born with a full or partial extra copy of chromosome 21. People with Down syndrome express varying degrees of cognitive delays, from very mild to moderate to severe.
What is the Western North Carolina Down Syndrome Alliance?
Advances in medical technology mean that people with Down syndrome are living longer than ever. This, in turn, means that more Americans are interacting with individuals with Down syndrome, increasing the need for widespread public education and acceptance.
That’s where the Western North Carolina Down Syndrome Alliance (WNCDSA) begins their work. Through a series of annual programs and events, the organization creates a community that is educated, supportive, and inclusive of individuals with Down syndrome.
WNCDSA serves 17 counties across Western North Carolina: Avery, Buncombe, Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Macon, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, Swain, Transylvania, and Yancey counties.
What Programs and Events do They Offer?
WNCDSA supporters help them meet their mission through participation in a series of annual programs and events.
The Buddy Walk is WNCDSA’s largest annual fundraiser, which helps bring awareness of Down syndrome by making the community more visible to the public. Participants come together for a day of fun and camaraderie, reconnect with old friends, and make a few more Buddies! Proceeds support Down syndrome children across the region through music programs, summer Buddy Camp, new parent packets, swimming activities, and more. This year’s 25th anniversary Buddy Walk is scheduled for October 2, 2021.
Buddy Camp is a free summer day camp for children with Down syndrome aged 6–14. Held in partnership with Lutheridge-Lutherock Ministries, Inc., the camp matches counselors with local students for canoeing, crafts, field games, hiking, puppets shows, swimming, and more. This year’s Buddy Camp is scheduled for July 12–July 16, 2021.
The WNCDSA Family Picnic is a great opportunity for area families to meet, show support, and share community resources. The organization provides hamburgers, hot dogs, and drinks. Participants bring a covered dish or dessert to share. Stay tuned for details about the next WNCDSA Family Picnic.
Get More by Giving Back
Every day, our agents and staff impress us by their involvement in strengthening community efforts through service and financial support. Beverly-Hanks agents Bill Miller and David Ide currently serve on the WNCDSA board of directors. We encourage you to get involved, too.
Help local children and adults in need of compassion and support, now and in the future! Reach out to WNCDSA today. Or contact your Beverly-Hanks agent to learn about local efforts to help people with Down syndrome in your community.
WNC Down Syndrome Alliance
P.O. Box 8338, Asheville