Today we start the annual A to Z Blogging Challenge! This year’s theme is our new feature – DOWNs Town Mall – and how important it is for us as a community to encourage and support all kinds of employment for people with Down syndrome and other intellectual / developmental disabilities.
For years now we’ve kept a list of people who own their own businesses. This year, we wanted to re-tool that list and make it into something bigger and easier to engage with and share. On World Down Syndrome Day (#WDSD17) we officially launched The DOWNs Town Mall.
The purpose of The Mall is two-fold. First, we wanted to make it easier for us as a community to find and support these great ventures. We also realize that these businesses represent what is possible for our loved ones with a little bit of creative thinking. We want to change the perception of those who create disability employment policy on the local, state, and national level. We want our tagline, “Business as Usual,” to come to represent how society thinks about people with Down syndrome – there are no limits to what they can do – just limits on how we support them.
How it works:
- All businesses owned by someone with Down syndrome will be listed upon request free of charge. The Mall will not ask for any fees of any kind. Listings will link to existing stores so that visitors can purchase items directly from the self-advocate business.
- Businesses that employee people with Down syndrome and/or other intellectual and developmental disabilities, and business that offer Down syndrome awareness products (this includes parents who have written books about their experiences and non-profit organizations) can be listed in the “Awareness” section of the mall for $25/year. (Includes one social media mention per month for 12 months)
- Businesses that offer goods and services that support people with Down syndrome and their families (i.e. medical services, therapy, legal assistance, educational products) can be listed in the “Support” section of the mall for $50/year. (Includes one social media mention per month for 12 months)
DOWNs Town Theater
Every mall has a theater and ours is no exception. Our theater is exceptional though, because it features films that have a connection to Down syndrome. More and more, we’re getting to see some great films, both narrative and documentary, that include people with Down syndrome both in front of and behind the camera. We got to see some of the talent that exists within our community at our inaugural Ethan Saylor Memorial Film Festival in January. You’ll find some of those films listed already and we’ll be adding more in the near future.
We’ll also be creating listings for individual actors to help highlight the incredible talent in our community and showcase their work.
Join Us for The Challenge
Throughout the month of April we’ll be posting about the great businesses that are already a part of The Mall and looking at some of the other employment programs and services that people with Ds can participate in. We hope you’ll enjoy our alphabetical journey and help us spread the word about DOWNs Town Mall!
You can find The Mall here: