This Summer has seen our 3rd partnership with a team taking part in the National Citizen Service.
The project aims to encourage young people aged 15 – 17 get involved in volunteering, build their own skills & confidence and work with a local community organisation to raise awareness and take on a day of social action.
This year Team Emeke visited us at our swimming session to find out about what Sunshine & Smiles does, learn more about our families and think of ways that they could help us.
We then had a planning meeting where we decided on the social action day to help us clear out our loft at Stainbeck Community Hall, tidy up the garden and hold a yard sale and some activities in the garden.
We had a really good clear out & tidy up and the team raised £100 from the Yard Sale which is fantastic!
Their last day was raising awareness & campaigning in the city centre which they did by handing out Sunshine & Smiles stickers, wearing our distinctive t-shirts and talk to people about the work we do!
Thank you Team Emeke and the National Citizen Service!
We are very pleased to be able to start offering Early Development groups starting from September 2018.
Initially we will have two groups running on a Friday morning, on a fortnightly basis, there will be one group for children aged 12 – 18 months and one group for children aged 18 – 24 months.
We will be using tools, resources & techniques from See & Learn, the Early Years Developmental Journal, The Portage Model and linking with our Speech & Language therapists to ensure consistency & continuity.
The groups will be 1 hour of structured support & learning followed by 30 minutes of social time with snacks.
Our aim will be to develop more groups to include all pre-school age children in the longer term.
Please let us know if you would like a place for your child in either of these groups by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or ringing 07902 054355.
On Friday 27th July our Speech & Language therapists, Ruth Mercer & Lauren Drake, and our Service Manager, Ailith Harley-Roberts, travelled to Glasgow for the final day of the 2018 World Down Syndrome Congress.
They were presenting at the congress to share the Sunshine & Smiles model of Speech & Language groups, one of our core pillars and a vital support to children & young people with Down syndrome. The presentation was very well received with many groups & professionals attending and asking questions.
It was also a day with so much to pack in – presentations & seminars on so many different subjects from people all over the world.
Highlights of the day were two talks by young women with Down syndrome, Kylie Scott & Olivia Hargroder, sharing their personal experiences and their determination for inclusion & accessibility across the world.
Our favourite quotes:
“Don’t make decisions about me, without me” – Kylie Scott
“All children are born optimistic” – Olivia Hargroder
We also saw talks on inclusion in school for children & young people with Down syndrome, sexual health & relationships and apps that are helping with cognitive assessments for children.
Ruth picked out a quote from the Inclusion talk that really stood out: “the support & adaptations we make for our children &young people with Down Syndrome have benefit for all students’
The day was overwhelmingly positive & affirming with so many people from around the world coming together to share expertise and experience.
We saw so much potential & energy and as Lauren said ‘an example of how society should be functioning’.
The closing speech by Brian Skotko summed up so well; we are a community and we are are all working & fighting for the same things, we need to continue to do this together to be as strong a force as possible to create & be the change we want to see in the world.
The next World Down Syndrome Congress will be held in Dubai in 2020.
A huge thank you to one of our parents from the group, Jill Lund, Mum to Pippa. Jill nominated Sunshine & Smiles for the Persimmon Homes Community Champions campaign.
Jill was delighted to be told that she had been awarded £1,000 to help support Speech and Language therapy sessions for Sunshine & Smiles.
Jill has recently completed Leeds 10K to raise funds and is always looking for potential funding opportunities.
She said: “I am delighted to have been selected by Persimmon Homes and very grateful for their donation. Sunshine and Smiles has been a life line for me. As Pippa’s sole carer and working full time their support and expertise has not only helped me understand who I can best support my daughter, but it is also benefiting Pippa’s development.
Simon Whalley, sales director at Persimmon Homes West Yorkshire, said: “We are delighted to support Jill’s fundraising efforts as her hard work will not only benefit her daughter but also the wider community.”
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