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For Immediate Release: May 25, 2005, Calgary, Alberta

Voices for Adults with Down Syndrome-The VATTA Project

"The future is not only on the horizon, but within the beginning of every new day" was what 10 people with Down syndrome agreed about in the preliminary meetings of a new and innovative project called "Voices at the Table, Advocacy" (VATTA). The Canadian Down Syndrome Society (CDSS) is pleased to announce the creation of VATTA, a project to ensure that adults 18 years old and over have a place at the "table". Practically this means that adults with Down syndrome will have a direct say in the future direction of services and programs provided by the Canadian Down Syndrome Society. This exciting project will assist in the creation of new visions and bring a personal perspective to guide the Society.

Following a national search, 10 adults with Down syndrome from across Canada were selected to represent their views, ideas and perspectives. Members were selected based on their previous advocacy experience, interests and involvement in the community. Project Coordinator Kirk Crowther inaugurated the committees activities in association with the Canadian Down Syndrome Society 17th Annual National Conference. Kirk states "involving individuals to express their views and voice their opinions is paramount in creating supports for adults in the community". The committee meetings and annual CDSS conference were held in Waterloo, ON, May 12 - 14, 2005.

The Voices at the Table, Advocacy, project was funded by the Social Development Partnerships Program, Social Development Canada. The project runs through to March 2006. The goals of this advocacy committee are: to bring Canadian adults with Down syndrome together using an internet based communication forum; to build leaders in self-advocacy; and to provide the Canadian Down Syndrome Society Board of Directors with advice about issues around adults with Down syndrome. The development of a network where adults can express their thoughts and views is critical to the success of the project.

The Board of Directors of the Canadian Down Syndrome Society is proud to announce the launch of this pioneering committee, supported by Social Development Canada, which gives life to the CDSS organizational mission: to ensure equitable opportunities for all Canadians with Down syndrome.

Canadian Down Syndrome Society
811 - 14th Street NW
Calgary, AB T2N 2A4
Phone:(403) 270-8500 Fax: (403) 270-8291
Toll Free: 1-800-883-5608
Web site: www.cdss.ca

Contact: Elizabeth Dolman, Executive Director
Canadian Down Syndrome Society(CDSS)
Email: edolman@cdss.ca

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