Down Syndrome Association of Wisconsin Down Syndrome Association of Wisconsin Down Syndrome Association of Wisconsin Down Syndrome Association of Wisconsin  
.. DSAW Lacrosse Chapter

About DSAW Lacrosse Chapter

The supported families of DSAW-COTH-GLA come from all walks of life. We are parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, and friends of people with Down syndrome. Any interested community member is welcome to join us. There is no cost to be a part of DSAW-COTH-GLA.

*Membership in the Down Syndrome Association of WI (at a cost of $20/yr) is encouraged, but not required to be considered a supported family of DSAW-COTH-GLA.

What We Do:

  • New Parent Outreach: We work with area hospitals to provide a small gift along with information about our group to new parents.
  • Social Support: We provide several opportunities throughout the year for families to get together and know one another better, including a monthly Music Therapy Group, a World Down Syndrome Day celebration, a summer fishing outing, and a Christmas party.
  • Education: We provide information to our supported families through group presentations, workshops, and 1:1 meetings with our Executive Director (see Roadmaps with Ron)
  • Financial: Each person with Down syndrome is eligible for up to $500/yr in a Family Enrichment Program Grant. This grant can be used for programs, services, and equipment that enrich the person’s life. .
  • Information Sharing: We encourage our supported families to share information and resources with one another through our Facebook page, closed Facebook group, email group, and newsletter.
  • Awareness: Each fall our volunteers organize the Down Syndrome Awareness Walk, a one mile walk to promote awareness of the ABILITIES of people with Down syndrome.  Beginning in 2014, we will be launching a media campaign designed to educate the community about the potential within each individual with Down syndrome.
  • Medical Outreach: Working with DSAW across the state, we are reaching out to area hospitals to ensure that doctors, nurses, and other medical staff have access to the most recent and accurate information about Down syndrome to share with their patients.
  • Peer Sensitivity: Following our mission to support full inclusion, we are reaching out to area schools and workplaces to bring a comprehensive Peer Sensitivity training program to help students and co-workers relate to and understand their friends with Down syndrome.
  • Self-Advocate Program: A self-advocate is a person taking an active role in one’s own care, treatment or social services. Beginning in 2014, DSAW-COTH-GLA will be working with individuals ages 17 and older to develop a self-advocacy group. 

Our History

Children of the Heart, La Crosse’s first group for family and friends of people with Down syndrome, was founded in 1996. The group provided an opportunity for families to support each other through social functions and information sharing.

In 2002, Children of the Heart (COTH) sponsored the first Buddy Walk held in La Crosse. Over the next ten years, COTH continued to organize the walk (later renamed the Step UP for Down Syndrome Walk) and provide support to people with Down syndrome and their families, through social events, workshops, and special speakers.

As the membership grew and the needs of the members changed, Children of the Heart began to realize the benefits of being part of a larger organization. In April, 2013, Children of the Heart officially became a chapter of the Down Syndrome Association of WI.

Going forward, we will be working together to achieve full acceptance, full access, full life and full potential.

Family Enrichment Grant

Because DSAW-COTH-GLA encourages people with Down syndrome to reach their full potential, we have made Family Enrichment Grant money available to each of our supported families. Every person with Down syndrome is eligible to receive up to $500/year for services, programs, or equipment that enrich their lives. Click here for more information.

The Down Syndrome Association of Wisconsin - Lacrosse chapter is a local resource for people with Down syndrome and other developmental challenges, their families and others that support them. We are committed to providing support and information in the hope of cultivating awareness, respect and opportunity for those in our community touched by Down syndrome. Your support for the Down Syndrome Association of Wisconsin - Lacrosse chapter is very much appreciated.

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