Here at DSDN, we want to thank our sponsors who make our Rockin' Mom Retreat possible. Stand Up For Down Syndrome is one of our 2017 sponsors.
Stand Up For Downs is a non-profit which began in 2013 with the mission of enhancing the lives of those with Down syndrome through humor. From 2013-2016, our focus was on raising funds to help support the many amazing organizations (like DSDN!) that honor a similar mission. That effort has resulted in over $400,000 being raised to date. In 2017, we began Project Spotlight. This program teaches improvisation and stand-up comedy/public speaking to those with Down syndrome in an effort to build communication, public speaking, and presenting skills that will improve social and workplace opportunities. We hope to have our improvisation resource guide, tentatively titled "Improvability" out by the end of the year.
Below is our Interview with Rob Snow, Founder of SUFD.
What inspired you to start your organization?
Two roads merged - my background in stand-up comedy and our son Henry, who was born with DS in 2009. We knew we wanted to be involved in the DS community and we also recognized the financial needs of so many amazing organizations we had made connections with over the years since Henry's birth. I felt my background in producing, marketing, and performing in comedy events might be a way to help those organizations financially. This evolved a bit with the new Project Spotlight program, and over 30 podcasts with leaders of the Disability community, but in general, it has all been based around comedy in one way or another.
What kind of impact is your organization making?
The biggest impact has hopefully been financially, since that had been our initial goal of the program. To date we have granted over $250,000 to various organizations within the Disability community. Beyond the financial, we have managed to connect various groups to others to enhance their programs, produced podcasts and shared important stories through social media that have provided awareness to so many people inside and outside our communities, and now, hopefully providing a program to improve social and workplace opportunities for individuals with DS.
What’s your greatest hope for your organization?
To be a difference maker. I don't think a non-profit should form until they fully believe they can make a difference. We found a unique niche(humor) to do this. I know we have been a difference maker with our financial assistance, but I am now hoping our Project Spotlight can be a huge difference maker directly for those with DS to offer better opportunities in life, and create more acceptance in this world.
What is your greatest hope for the future of people with Down syndrome?
That they continue to assimilate into this world in every way possible. As stigmas and barriers continue to be broken down every day, awareness and acceptance grow at incredible paces. Some would argue it's still not enough, but I see everything getting better. Our Disability and Down syndrome communities are more powerful than ever. We know how to fight for changes and improvements, and, even when we hit roadblocks, we find ways to get past them, stay positive, and get the job done. Organizations like ours, DSDN, and so many others will continue to grow and new organizations will emerge and fill voids so that the future for our son, and every person with DS will look better year after year.
How does your organization support new families?
Financially through grants to organizations like DSDN who do an amazing job supporting new families, as well as many local organizations where our home office is based. My wife and I also volunteer to meet with new families directly. We feel that connecting with new families as soon as possible is vital to the future of the DS community. Those organizations and individuals that participate in this type of outreach are able to provide the most thorough and positive information and support to these new families so that they can start their journey in the best way. This is a huge difference from where most of these families started in the past.
For the 3rd year in a row, Stand Up For Downs is, once again, a proud sponsor of the Down Syndrome Diagnosis Network’s 2017 Rockin’ Mom Retreat. You can learn more about our organization at www.standupfordowns.org. You can also follow SUFD on Facebook.
If your businesses or organization would like to sponsor this year’s retreat, check out our retreat page.