"As soon as our son was born we were contacted by the Down Syndrome Association of Middle Tennessee (DSAMT)," recalls local mom April Booten. "I cannot say enough good things about this organization. They're always keeping families abreast in community events, advocacy, legislation, and they're very active in planning events for children and adults with Down syndrome (i.e., annual Buddy Walk, 3.21 event, Easter egg hunt, Christmas party)." If you're like Booten and active in the community and always looking for activities or events for all children with Down syndrome, then you'll love to hear about the DSAMT's two inaugural events: Celebration Bowl on Saturday, April 28 and Once Upon a Friendship on Friday, May 4.
Celebration Bowl: Saturday, April 28
This new event celebrates and supports individuals with Down syndrome and their families. It aims to promote understanding and acceptance of individuals with Down syndrome, too. From 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. (with check-in at 9 a.m.) families, schools, churches, businesses and media can enjoy bowling for the entire family! In addition, there's a Silent Auction with many wonderful items to bid on. It's open to the public and teams of all ages can compete for top prizes both in competition and in fundraising. While you're there, if you're not bowling, you can enjoy the arcade, bumper cars, etc. (prices vary). Teams of six cost $25 per player and the fee includes two games, shoe rental, a meal, unlimited soft drinks and an event T-shirt (while supplies last, T-shirt cannot be guaranteed). The event takes place at Lanes, Trains, and Automobiles at 450 Butler Drive, Murfreesboro. To learn more, e-mail email@example.com or call 615-605-0020 or visit somethingextra.org.
Once Upon a Friendship: Friday, May 4
In addition to the Celebration Bowl, DSAMT has also partnered with Saint Ann School for the inaugural Once Upon a Friendship Dance on Friday, May 4 from 7 – 9 p.m. It's an inclusive, extraordinary night to GLOW for ages 11 – 15 year old's with Down syndrome, siblings ages 11 – 15 and Middle School students at Saint Ann School. The dance floor lights up with a neon glow while kids dance to a DJ, enjoy food/snacks, games, a photo booth and more. Parents are welcome to stay or drop off. If you do plan to drop off, just let them know in the registration process so they can plan accordingly. Adults will chaperone the entire event. Children with food restrictions or elopement or behavior needs will be accommodated appropriately. We want everyone to have a great time. Please note: If your child with DS isn't 11 – 15 BUT there's a sibling in that age range, the sibling is definitely invited. It's FREE for individuals with Down syndrome, their siblings, Saint Ann School students and parents. However, advance registration is required! The dance takes place at St Ann School (5105 Charlotte Ave., Nashville). Visit somethingextra.org to register.
Zac Stacy NDSS All-Star Clinic: Saturday, May 5
NDSS, DSAMT and former Vanderbilt and NFL running back Zac Stacy present the FREE inaugural Zac Stacy NDSS All-Star Clinic on Saturday, May 5 from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. In addition to Stacy, other professional players on hand include Kevin Byard and Tajae Sharpe. The clinic is open to individuals with Down syndrome of all ages, and other special needs. It features a day of sports, food and fun with meet and greets with the athletes. Kids also learn various football drills, enjoy a lunch and photo/autograph sessions with the players. Family and friends, please register as spectators and remain on the sidelines. The clinic takes place at Vanderbilt Recreation and Wellness Center (2700 Childrens Way, Nashville). More info and registration can be found classy.org.
Down Syndrome Association of Middle Tennessee (DSAMT)
DSAMT is a community of parents, grandparents, siblings, physicians, educators, professionals, friends, and self-advocates from 41 counties in Middle Tennessee who celebrate and support individuals with Down Syndrome and their families. It connect new and expecting families with valuable information and a welcoming community. It continues to educate, advocate for and support the family throughout the lifespan. Finding events and things for your child to do is key to a happy, healthy life. "We basically try to never let the diagnosis hold us back from doing anything that a typical child would do," says Booten. Another event to consider: DSAMT Day at Nashville Shores — Monday, June 4