Advocate Like a Mother, Father, Grandparent, Sibling...

See our last post to see upcoming events and be sure to sign up for this new advocacy opportunity:

Legislative Advocacy Training

The Arc Georgia and DSAA present a 3-part Legislative Advocacy Training Series to build advocacy skills in preparation for the 2020 legislative session! Topics include understanding the legislative process; talking with your legislator and giving legislative testimony; and tour of the Gold Dome/ State Capitol building. Attending all sessions is recommended but not required:

  • November 21 | 6-8 pm

  • December 10 | 6-8 pm

  • December 17 | 10 am - 12 noon *tour




State Representative Rick Williams announced Friday that he will introduce legislation, Gracie’s Law, during the 2020 legislative session to prohibit discrimination against a potential organ transplant recipient based solely on a physical or mental disability. Currently without it, children and adults with disabilities in Georgia are not eligible to receive or donate organs!

Join the Gracie's Law Facebook Group to see the press release and push this law forward.



No Deeper Love: A Federal Right

no deeper love cbs news

CBS News shared the video of Kris and Paul, one of the first couples in the world with Down syndrome to get married. Their pioneering love story hits home as couples today still face resistance when choosing marriage: did you know that an individual's benefits can be affected if they get married? DSAA took to D.C. last year to advocate for exactly this: individuals with developmental disabilities have the right to get married without their health and support benefits being compromised. 


Save the Date: World Down Syndrome Day

march 21 calendar page



To celebrate World Down Syndrome Day we will be hosting an evening event for adults only on March 21, 2020! Come and get a glimpse of what the future can look like. More to come ...




Not To Miss Events

The Buddy Walk is over, now what? Check out these upcoming community partner and DSAA events to keep you busy over the coming months:

  • Exclusive screening of “The Peanut Butter Falcon” and conversation with actor Zack Gottsagen!; November 7th - limited seating is available, buy tickets here.
  • DSAA Moms Night Out; November 16th, 6:30 pm at Gigi's Playhouse Roswell - learn about CBD oil from a Registered Dietitian while completing some holiday shopping! We invite all moms with small businesses to inquire about setting up a merch table. RSVP here.
  • DSAA Holiday Party; December 7th, 1-3 pm at MJCCA Dunwoody - Free event for families! Drinks and treats, inflatables, face painting, Santa, and the DSAA Marketplace will be open for holiday shopping.
  • Annual Adult Holiday Dance; December 7th - details below
  • 50th Annual Special Citizens Party; December 15th, 11 am - 1 pm at the Omni Hotel - International Ballroom, One CNN Center, North Tower: dancing, entertainment and a visit from Santa! Call or email to reserve your seat! or Jerry Draluck 404.642.7025
  • Save the Date: "Leap into Learning" Summit; February 29, 2020 - don't miss this great opportunity! Learn more and RSVP

learning summit 2.29.20

holiday dance


Thank You for a Successful Buddy Walk!

Thank you so much for helping us celebrate another great Buddy Walk supporting the Down Syndrome Association of Atlanta. What an amazing day! We were thankful for fantastic weather and so excited to introduce a great new location. So far the feedback from you has been great.  Special thanks goes out to Meagan Nash, our event chair; Leah Heifetz, behind the scenes support; and the entire Board for your hard work and dedication to the event and our organization. 

Each year, a highlight of the Buddy Walk is recognizing some amazing individuals that have made a difference in our community.  This year congratulations go out to the following:

  • Advocate of the Year: (Under 21) Martha Haythorn   
  • Parent of the Year: Erenia Castillo
  • Community Advocate of the Year: Lindsey Rosenberg 

The Buddy Walk is the biggest fundraiser of the year for the Down Syndrome Association of Atlanta.  The money we raised on October 5 will go to supporting education, programming, advocacy and community building events for individuals with Down Syndrome and their families. Thanks to your help we raised more than $130,000 this year.  We would also like to recognize the top fundraising teams and individuals.


  1. Team Natey Boy   
  2. Laced Up for Lucy   
  3. Kennestone


  1. Amber Wehr   
  2. Todd Hartle      
  3. Shannon DeBari

Thank you so much for your continued support of all of the amazing things happening with the DSAA.  Be on the lookout for even more in 2020. We are excited to announce that next year’s Buddy Walk will be October  3rd, 2020, KSU’s Marietta Campus. 

Check out these initial images from the roaming photo booth who captured great moments at the event. More images to come so stay connected on our Facebook page. See you next year!


Clair Wallace                                             Sheryl Arno

Chairperson DSAA                                    Executive Director

*and another big shout out to our sponsors: 



Jerry's Habima Theatre Mama Mia! Auditions

The MJCCA is thrilled to announce the next Jerry's Habima Theatre production will be MAMA MIA! The show will run from March 12-22, 2020. See below for audition information.

When: Sunday, December 1st | 1-4 pm

Where: MJCCA Zaban-Blank Building

RSVP: Sign up to audition by sending an email to before November 25. You may also call at 678-812-4071.

A parent/ caregiver meeting will be held Sunday, December 1st at 1 pm.

Preparing For The Audition: 

Actors should prepare a 60-second sample of a song from Mama Mia!

Both new and returning actors may be subject to a pre-audition interview, at the discretion of the production team. We recognize that it is common for actors, their families, and their caregivers to have varying expectations of the rehearsal and performance process. The pre-audition interview will help ensure that all actors cast in the upcoming production are excited about the artistic process and prepared to contribute to a fun and creative work environment with everyone involved in the show. 


2019 Sponsors + Partners

We are beyond grateful to every sponsor that makes the 2019 Atlanta Buddy Walk possible; we could not do it without you!

We also want to thank our partners: 

  • The Georgia Down Syndrome Consortium
  • Gigi's Playhouse
  • Emory Down Syndrome Clinic
  • Adult Disability Medical Healthcare
  • National Down Syndrome Congress
  • The Center for Leadership and Disability - Ga State University
  • The ARC Georgia
  • Marcus Jewish Community Center/ Blonder Department for Special Needs
  • Kennesaw State University's Academy for Inclusive Learning and Social Growth

Moms Night Out + Family Forums

The Buddy Walk is right around the corner - October 5th to be exact - and we are excited to see you all there! In the meantime, we call all moms to join us for Moms Night Out:

Friday, September 13th at 6:30pm | Gigi's Playhouse Atlanta

Come spend time with fellow moms and hear from a behavioral therapist who will share great tips and ideas for all things behavior. Treats and drinks included. Don’t forget a non perishable item to add to the hospital bags we are making for families with prolonged hospital stays. View on Facebook here.

wine glass


Also consider attending a Family Forum night sponsored by the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities:


For more details and to RSVP:

For questions, contact the organizer at 888-512-5736 or