(March 24, 2010) Kansas City, MO–The March 21 World Down Syndrome Day celebration in Kansas City, Missouri also marked the launch of Down Syndrome Affiliates in Action (DSAIA), a trade association composed of more than 55 Down syndrome support organizations from across the country. DSAIA fills a national need that will improve each member organization’s community.
Historically, Down syndrome support organizations developed and operated independently, often duplicating efforts that use significant community funds. The founders of DSAIA realized that an organized structure for collaboration would allow groups to pool their resources to share the very best practices to avoid “reinventing the wheel” in each local community.
Recognizing that this need demanded a permanent framework, affiliate members elected their first board of directors. The Board represents DSAIA’s national scope, with directors who are affiliate leaders from Northern Virginia to Denver, Colorado, and from Grand Rapids, Michigan to Houston, Texas.
Joe Meares, DSAIA Board President, says that he “looks forward to supporting Down syndrome affiliates through building a repository of programs and materials, hosting regular sharing sessions throughout the year, and using DSAIA’s economies of scale to broker benefits for local groups.”
DSAIA Board Vice President Bridget Murphy emphasized that “DSAIA will itself not seek to duplicate efforts. DSAIA plans on complementing and working with other national, regional, and local organizations to create a unified effort for increasing the acceptance of and opportunities for individuals with Down syndrome.”
Prior to becoming a trade association, the Affiliates in Action Annual Conference was organized in 2007 by the Down Syndrome Guild of Greater Kansas City. The conference experienced exponential growth, doubling from the number of affiliate groups that attended the first year and tripling in the number of attendees.
More information about DSAIA can be found by visiting www.dsaia.org.
Founded in 2006, Down Syndrome Affiliates in Action started as a conference bringing together outstanding leaders of Down syndrome organizations from around the country. After consecutive years of explosive attendance, the conference has extended its reach internationally and formed the trade association to continue its mission. The purpose and mission of DSAIA was, and continues to be, serving Down syndrome affiliates through collaboration, resource sharing, and networking.