Connexions Blog

"Building stronger communities by sharing inspiration, advice, and best practices that work".

Buddy, the ds-connex elf, is back to spread holiday cheer!

By Jen Franklin Kearns, ds-connex team member

It’s December, and the ds-connex elf, Buddy, is back again to spread more holiday cheer!

Starting December 2nd, visit the ds-connex Facebook page or Instagram to see Buddy’s Question of the Day. Kids are invited to send in their answers (with their parents’ help, of course!) to to be entered to win a $25 Amazon e-gift card from ds-connex!

We hope you’ll join Buddy in getting in the holiday spirit with his fun contest this month!

Buddy the elf contest announcement graphic

Contest details:

Buddy will ask a daily question on the ds-connex Facebook and Instagram on weekdays beginning December 2nd, with the final question on December 18th. Answers must be emailed to and should include the following information: child’s name, age, and the name of the Down syndrome organization with which your family is affiliated. Kids ages 18 and younger will receive one entry per question answered for our random prize drawings. The earlier you participate, the more entries you will receive! The prize drawings will take place on December 3rd, 7th, 10th, 14th, 17th, and 21st; winners will be announced on our social media and notified via email. By entering the contest, you are granting ds-connex permission to edit your submission for grammar and/or length, and post your child’s first name on our social media should they be the winner of a random prize drawing. This contest is sponsored by ds-connex.

Ds-connex Makes Strides to Assist Partners for Giving Tuesday

By Jen Franklin Kearns, ds-connex team member

GivingTuesday is a global day of generosity that will take place on December 1, 2020. This year, ds-connex is pleased to offer Giving Tuesday donation sites to assist our partners in raising much needed funds in this unprecedented year. Using our Stride fundraising platform, we are proud to enable our partners to continue their fundraising efforts.

Here are just two examples of our Giving Tuesday sites:

The Down Syndrome Association of the Valley has incorporated some really cute photos on their site, while the Down Syndrome Association of Central California is using that space on their site to highlight what donations will fund. Stride allows the flexibility for our partners to determine exactly how they want to present their Giving Tuesday campaigns.

In coordination with Stride, our partners can take advantage of the wealth of resources available on the Giving Tuesday website. The key to a successful fundraising campaign is planning early, and the Giving Tuesday website provides many helpful tips and templates to help prepare for this year’s campaign on 12/1!

In addition to these resources, the Giving Tuesday site provides a collection of graphics that you can implement into your digital promotions, like this Save the Date message

social media graphic from the Giving Tuesday website. Graphic to be used in assist in fundraising

As always, social media will play an important role in your fundraising campaign. Keep in mind that you should post more often, and not less, when working toward a fundraising goal. From the Giving Tuesday toolkit: “Your community WANTS to hear from you! Go back and look at your top-performing content to draw inspiration. Post content that shows your work in action, how your community is affected by COVID-19, and share stories that give people hope or make people laugh.” It’s important to include a call to action on these posts, so don’t forget to include the link at which your supporters can donate!

Giving Tuesday is a great opportunity to share uplifting stories happening within your community! At a time when uncertainty reigns, your followers are seeking good news in their newsfeed. Stop their doom scrolling with beautiful stories and updates from your organization, and be sure to let them know how their donations will allow these stories to continue and grow.

To learn more about how ds-connex is supporting our partners in their Giving Tuesday initiatives, or to request information about Stride, feel free to reach out at

Ds-connex Presents: The Fifth Annual Super Sibs Contest

By Jen Franklin Kearns, ds-connex team member

This October, in observance of Down Syndrome Awareness Month, we are excited to once again recognize the Super Sibs of our loved ones with Down syndrome! Siblings tend to be very aware of the impact of having a brother or sister with extra needs, and we often hear amazing stories about how they love, encourage, and embrace both the highs and lows of their relationships with their siblings with Down syndrome. We want to take the opportunity to highlight these examples because we believe that children are the key to the future of an inclusive world. Furthermore, we know that these Super Sibs are key players in leading this movement.

Please join us in applauding the amazing sibling relationships within the Down syndrome community. We have met so many wonderful siblings in the last few years, and we can’t wait to read and share about your Super Sibs!

Contest Details:

Contest entries should be submitted via email to, beginning September 25, 2020. All submissions will require a photo with a brief story (3-4 sentences) of how the sibling is supportive of their family member with Down syndrome.

We will accept submissions through October 26th. Randomly selected entries will be used as content for the ds-connex Facebook page beginning 10/1. All submissions will be included in an album to be hosted on the ds-connex Facebook page, which will be posted at the end of October. By entering the contest, you are granting ds-connex permission to edit your submission for grammar and/or length, and use the submitted photo and story in ds-connex social media posts and website. We will only use the first name of siblings in our promotions.  

We will randomly select two winners each Tuesday in October (10/6, 10/13, 10/20, and 10/27), for a total of eight winners, who will each be awarded $25 gift cards. Winners will be announced on the ds-connex Facebook page on each Tuesday afternoon in October. Winners can select to receive an e-gift card from either Target or Amazon.

Team Captains: Share Your 2020 Fundraising Ideas for a Chance to Win a $100 Team Donation! Plus, a Fun Way to Get the Kids Involved!

By Jen Franklin Kearns, ds-connex team member

This year, it’s certainly fair to say that most of our beloved routines have been at least somewhat disrupted by the global pandemic. Fundraising for our annual Down syndrome events is no exception. The fundraisers that team captains have hosted in the past may not fit into our local health departments’ guidelines this year, but our Down syndrome associations still need the support of their members. These unique circumstances are requiring team captains to think outside of the usual fundraising box and come up with creative ways to raise much needed funds. With that in mind, we’re excited to kick off our 6th Annual Summer of FUNdraising contest!

We’ve already seen several fun ideas; we featured Tori’s awesome idea for her Columbus Buddy Walk Team, Bryce’s Buddies, on our blog in May. This idea raised almost $3700 for their team, and they did while keeping everyone safe! This isn’t the only creative fundraiser we’ve seen so far this year, and we know there are many more out there!

2020 Summer Fundraising

How are you raising funds for your Down syndrome fundraising team? We want to hear from you!

From Monday, July 27th to Thursday, August 13th, send us a photo from one of your team fundraisers and a short description of your idea for the chance to win one of three $100 donations to your fundraising team from ds-connex. Your idea will inspire other team captains who are in need of ideas for this year, and your team can earn a donation from ds-connex as a result!

One entry will be randomly selected on the following Fridays: July 31st, August 7th and August 14th to win a $100 donation from ds-connex to their Down syndrome fundraising team. The winning entries will be announced each Friday at 2pm Eastern. The earlier you enter, the more chances you have to win! We can’t wait to hear all about your fundraising ideas!

This year’s contest has an extra fun twist!

In addition to your creative fundraising ideas, we also want to hear from your kids: how are they having fun while staying safe at home? We’ve seen how families are coming up with fun new ways to pass the time at home this summer, and we want to showcase those ideas! Kids, send us a photo and description (with Mom or Dad’s help, of course!) of how you are safely enjoying your summer and you could win a $25 e-gift card to Target or Amazon!

Two entries will be randomly selected to win a $25 e-gift card for Target or Amazon (winner’s choice!) on Friday, August 14th, at 2pm Eastern.

But wait - there’s another fun twist this year!

Ds-connex will select an entry to win a Judges’ Award! We will review all of the entries for fundraising ideas and choose our favorite, based on the creativity of the idea described in the entry. The Judges’ Award for the fundraising idea will include a $100 donation to the fundraising team and will be announced on Friday, August 14th, at 2pm Eastern.

How to Enter

Photo submissions can be emailed to ds-connex at Images can be a photo from a fundraiser or a graphic that you used (or plan to use) to promote your fundraiser on social media. For the kids’ category, images can be photos of them enjoying their fun activity. By submitting a photo, you are giving ds-connex permission to edit your submission for grammar/length, and share your submission via the Connexions blog and across multiple social platforms in order to raise awareness and appreciation of your fundraising efforts on behalf of the Down syndrome community. All submissions will be shared on the ds-connex social media outlets with the goal of inspiring the Down syndrome community with creative fundraising ideas for team captains across the country, and to encourage families to have fun this summer safely from home. (Please note: When submitting an entry from a mobile device, please be advised that the “connex” segment of our email address may be autocorrected, preventing your entry from reaching us. If you do not receive a confirmation of your entry, please try sending it again.)