'Knock Your Socks Off' awareness campaign celebrates World Down Syndrome Day
Part of the Down Syndrome Association of Central Oklahoma’s mission is to raise awareness and promote acceptance and inclusion. To do this, the organization will kick off a “Knock Your Socks Off” awareness campaign to celebrate World Down Syndrome Day on March 21.
The day represents the third replication of the 21st chromosome, also known as Trisomy 21 or Down syndrome. The organization is asking everyone in the community to wear their favorite pair of crazy socks and to tag DSACO on social media using the hashtag #crazy4DSACO.
The idea is to bring the community together on this one day to celebrate what we consider to be a day of acceptance and inclusion. People with Down syndrome bring so much to each community across the world, when given the opportunity.
This year’s awareness event has drawn in many different organizations from across the state. The Down Syndrome Association of Central Oklahoma will host a fundraising luncheon on March 21 where each donor will be given a crazy sock puppet made by volunteers, family members and self-advocates. DSACO has hosted social gatherings the past few months where members came and made crazy sock puppets but were also able to share experiences and get to know other families and volunteers.
4-H members from across the state also helped and made more than 100 sock puppets for the upcoming luncheon. In addition, the Cleveland County 4-H also hosted a crazy sock puppet workshop in conjunction with the Down Syndrome Association of Central Oklahoma’s Elementary Adventure Club.
St. John’s Nepomuk and Curtis Inge Middle School at Noble also will participate in the crazy sock puppet project on Wednesday and Thursday respectively, all while learning more about Down syndrome. The students participating in the sock puppet project were encouraged to get as creative as possible, making it fun and engaging, while learning about acceptance and inclusion for individuals with Down syndrome.
This year, Noble Public Schools has joined with the association to create a districtwide awareness campaign where students from pre-K through high school will attend assemblies to learn about Down syndrome and participate in a “crazy sock hop.” At the “crazy sock hop,” students will dance for three minutes and 21 seconds in recognition of the 21st chromosome. St. John’s Nepomuk also will take part in the awareness campaign where students from pre-K through eighth grade will attend assemblies and “crazy sock hops.” Our hope is that through this awareness campaign, the students will gain knowledge about Down syndrome but also look for ways to be inclusive in their schools.
We all want to be accepted for who we are because being included is what matters most. As the executive director of the organization, I am thrilled that we as an organization are becoming more recognized and that students are learning more about Down syndrome and all the possibilities for individuals. We will continue our mission to promote awareness and strive for inclusion so that everyone can see the person first and not the disability.
So, we ask everyone to grab your favorite pair of crazy socks and join us on this journey as we “Knock Your Socks Off” on World Down Syndrome Day, March 21. #crazy4DSACO #WDSD2019
Sarah Soell is executive director of the Down Syndrome Association of Central Oklahoma and a mother of a child with Down syndrome.