DSAA is humbled and honored to be named the 2020 Affiliate of the Year by Down Syndrome Affiliates In Action. Below is the script from the award presentation in February 2020:
Most of today’s awards came from self-nominations. And that’s okay. Nobody knows your programs and services better than you do. But THIS year’s Affiliate in Excellence winner was not self-nominated. Their nomination came from you, because no one but other DSAs could recognize what this organization took on its shoulders during the holiday season this past December 2019.
Many of you may recall some of the headlines surrounding this nominee and the circumstances. In the middle of the holiday season, when most DSA's were closing down their offices for a few weeks of well-deserved rest, we started seeing news stories like this: “Mom Left Down Syndrome Son at Hospital”, “Homeless Black mom who left special needs son at hospital gets surprise courtroom support” and then we in this community started paying more attention.
The Down Syndrome Association of Atlanta was inundated with local and national media requests and not only did they stand in support of this family, this organization FILLED the courtroom for this family’s hearing when the mother was charged with cruelty and neglect. Sheryl Arno, Executive Director of the Down Syndrome Association of Atlanta, told television reporters after attending the mother’s hearing that she wasn’t just showing up to support the woman for one day. “We are not leaving her,” Arno promised. “We are not leaving this family. We are in this for the long haul.” And while they have stayed quiet on the details for privacy reasons for this family, they continue working with this family and resources daily.
This year the Down Syndrome Affiliates in Action Conference Committee wants to recognize the Down Syndrome Association of Atlanta as our 2020 Affiliate of the Year. We are all in this with you…for the long haul. Thank you for your leadership, your compassion and helping us be better and better. Together.
*Pictured: Board Member Kimberly Knight accepting award on behalf of DSAA.