By Robbin Lyons, Wisconsin Upside Down Board President
Wisconsin Upside Down was the recipient of several DSAIA Affiliates in Excellence Awards in 2014. Two of our awards were actually the benefit of a strong community partnership. During our efforts to get the ABLE Act passed in 2013, we partnered with Hartland/Lakeside School District. We went into the classrooms of two grade levels and talked to the classes about how a bill gets passed into law. We invited the children to participate and the school let us send information home to parents, many of whom also got involved. Children, teachers and parents wrote letters to Congress. The children and staff helped us to make a video that we shared with our congressmen and which won one of our DSAIA awards. The whole school has followed us along our path as we worked to get ABLE passed. Local media followed the class projects too, making it a great win-win for us and the schools.
During all of this learning together and visits to the schools, we brought the kids Down syndrome awareness bracelets. One of the teachers took a great photo of the kids wearing these bracelets. We have used this photo on our website and Facebook pages and we turned it in for an award, which it also won.
After the conference, we called the school to let them know about the honors and we made arrangements to have another follow-up visit. When we once again visited the school, we shared a video we made during our visit to Congress and we made a special presentation to the teacher who took the beautiful photo. We thanked all the children for participating and told them that they shared in the awards. We let them all see the award for the video and brought them a special snack treat that day. The teacher who took the photo now has the AIA plaque in her classroom. We presented the school with our own advocacy plaque for their part in our efforts. It was a great way to show the school and the kids that their hard work was appreciated. Thanks DSAIA for helping us further our community ties!
Watch the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xm16LRzh4Ys
And enter here! http://www.dsaia.org/aieapp/2015.html
Deadline is 12 noon Central on Monday, February 2nd!