Down Syndrome Guild to expand services in Columbia area

AP

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The Down Syndrome Guild of Greater Kansas City announced it will be hiring a full-time program coordinator for the Columbia area in mid-October.

The guild made the announcement at a town hall meeting at the Children’s Therapy Center on Saturday morning with family members of people with Down syndrome. The guild plans to expand services in Columbia and Jefferson City to better help the families who live in the area.

It will be continuing some of the programs it has in Kansas City, including support groups for families, fundraisers, teen social groups and awareness campaigns.

One service in particular the guild wants to improve are parent-to-parent meetings. In these meetings, families whose children have been diagnosed with Down syndrome can ask questions of families in similar situations or who have already been through the diagnosis stage.

“We really want to grow our brand here,” Chief Operating Officer Amy Allison said.

The guild plans to expand education for hospitals, schools and churches on Down syndrome. In hospitals, the guild teaches employees how to inform the family about Down syndrome and how to get the family in touch with people who can help them.

“We make sure they have all the literature they need to help,” Allison said.

The local support group in Columbia, under the umbrella of the Kansas City-area guild, emphasized how the new expansion will help connect more adults with Down syndrome to the help they need.

“It’s not just for children,” spokesperson Kathleen Basi said.

Adults with Down syndrome will have more access to peers through programs where they can learn to live independently from their families, Allison said.

The guild will be providing the extra funding to make these advancements possible.

“Our existing organization needs more help to provide all the services people need,” Basi said.

During the town hall, people expressed a lot of gratitude and gratefulness for programs provided by the guild.

The guild currently plans to place an advertisement for the new position in October after its Steps for Down Syndrome walk.

Supervising editor is Brendan Crowley: news@columbiamissourian.com, 882-7884.

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