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MDSC's mission is to enhance on a continuous basis the lives of individuals with Down syndrome through the education and support of people with Down syndrome, their families, their friends, their teachers, and the community as a whole and to ensure that all individuals with Down syndrome are valued, included, and live fulfilling lives in the community.
MDSC works diligently with health care providers, educators, parents, and individuals with Down syndrome to ensure that state-of-the-art programs and services are available. Our initiatives include:
• First Call program, a statewide volunteer network that provides information and support to parents of children with Down syndrome. Working in conjunction with the Children's Hospital Down Syndrome Clinic in Boston as well as with hospitals throughout Massachusetts, this program provides education, one-to-one support, and social and play groups for children and their families. First Call provides support to new families after their child is born as well as to parents whose children have been diagnosed during prenatal testing.
• Annual Educators Forum, where over 300 educators from Massachusetts participate in a day long conference to learn best practices in teaching children with Down syndrome in general education.
• Library book distribution project that provides free up-to-date books on topics related to Down syndrome to every public library in Massachusetts. Over 6000 books have been distributed to date.
• Annual Conference where over 600 parents, family members, individuals with Down syndrome and professionals come together with the nations leading experts on Down syndrome and participate in lectures, workshops, and networking sessions to learn more about inclusion, education, recreation, health care and employment opportunities for people with Down syndrome.
• Monthly social events and support group meetings for individuals with Down syndrome and their families.
• Self-Advocate program provides social, recreational, employment and community service opportunities for teens and young adults with Down syndrome.
- Maureen Gallagher
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