By Dawn Nuoffer, DSAW Executive Director
I am excited to announce the official launch of DSAW’s new website. This website has been a work-in-progress for a number of months, and we’re thrilled to share the final product with you. I encourage you to take a look around at the beautiful photographs (you might see you or your loved one!), updated gold-star resources, and a reorganized, fresh take on who DSAW is and what we do.
Our website launch couldn’t be more perfectly timed: we have just finalized DSAW’s new 5-Year Strategic Plan, which will guide DSAW through its planned growth and change over the next 5 years. We will continue to be an organization that is first and foremost built on fraternal support, but we will incorporate new and exciting components into those offerings.
Our programs and services will now be organized around eight areas: Statewide Fraternal Support, Statewide Parent’s First Call, Statewide Medical Training, Statewide DSAW-Family Services, Statewide Education Services, Statewide Down Syndrome Awareness, Statewide Advocacy, and the DSAW State Headquarters. Overall, we hope this reorganization sends a crucial message to families and individuals across the state: no matter where you live, DSAW is here to support you.
While we will continue to utilize our effective Chapter system, we have incorporated incremental levels of support from the individual, all the way up to the Chapter level. We believe that in doing so, we can more effectively serve people whether they are in the smallest, most rural areas of the state, or a major metropolitan area like Milwaukee. We have structured ourselves to serve people across four different “levels” – Individuals, Parent Support Groups, Regional Committees, and DSAW Chapters. Read more about these four levels here.
In addition to our vital Fraternal Support, DSAW will continue focusing on the key areas that are essential to our mission: Parent’s First Call to reach new and expectant parents, Medical Training to educate medical professionals about delivering a fair and compassionate Down syndrome diagnosis, DSAW-Family Services to help individuals with individualized direct services and support, and Down syndrome Advocacy and Awareness. Now, we’re excited to add replicable, niche, and model programming to this list.
At our West Allis-based DSAW State Headquarters, we serve the entire state of Wisconsin while piloting replicable programs and services in the Greater Milwaukee Area for implementation by families across the state. We will start by hosting programs for families (Family Movie Nights, Zumba Class, and Cooking with the Kiddos), parents (New Parent Support Group, Spanish Speaking Support Group, Alzheimer's Support Group, Autism Spectrum Support Group, Grandparents Support Group, Mommy & Me Yoga, and Coffee Club), little ones (Motor Skill Workshop, Speech Therapy), tweens (Tween Club, Family Activity Days, Cooking with the Kiddos), and Self-Advocates ages 15 and older (Drivers Education, Tech Skills Class, Young Leaders Bootcamp, Young Leaders Academy, and Club DSAW).
These exciting programs and services will not solely be available in Milwaukee. Through our more organized volunteer/fraternal support model, we can launch programs just like these all over the state in the next 5 years. Programs that help individuals with Down syndrome learn crucial skills and build relationships with their peers, programs that connect families together for fraternal support, and programs that create lifelong community memories.
The Down Syndrome Association of Wisconsin is looking forward to a bright future for the individuals and families that we serve. Through our programs, services, and events, we’re confident that Wisconsin can be the best-supported state in the nation for individuals with Down syndrome. We hope you continue to join us on this journey. Click here to start at our new website’s homepage and take a look around – not just at our new website, but at DSAW’s future. I think you’ll like what you see.