Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Video Contest!!! Videos received until December 9th!

From our friends at NDSC:

The plus15 campaign has launched a "One of Them is My Sib" video contest for siblings who want to show the world what their sisters and brothers with Down syndrome are capable of.  We started receiving videos November 14 and will accept them until December 9.  You can see some of the early contest participants on Facebook or our Youtube Channel. 
Two prizes will be awarded: People's Choice award, for those with the most "likes" on their videos, and a "Judge's Choice" award, which will be determined by a panel of judges from the Down syndrome community!  Winners in both of these categories will receive gift certificates to Amazon.com!   Find out more HERE and SPREAD THE WORD! 

Are YOU going to make a movie??? If so, let us know and we will show it on our YouTube and Facebook Pages too!!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Via West Gives Thanks During Joyful Respite Session

Via West had its third respite session of the season this past weekend, which was Thanksgiving themed.  Participants had a chance to experience all aspects of Thanksgiving, starting with shopping for a traditional dinner.  Our "Via West Market", complete with baskets and food prices, allowed our participants to gather and pay for all the components for the dinner.

Later in the weekend, using a traditional recipe that incorporated fresh herbs, our participants made the stuffing for dinner and even took turns stuffing the turkey!  Participants chopped, sauteed, and measured ingredients safely and efficiently.  Everyone also had a chance to bake mini-pumpkin loaves which were warm and delicious. To top it all off, everyone got to take home a cookbook and apron as a memento!

Finally the time came for the feast, and everyone's hard work was apparent in the beautiful decorations, table settings, and food.  Everyone participated in the decoration and set up of the banquet tables, and to make a good evening great, all participants shared with the group what they were most thankful for.

It was such a wonderful weekend! Check out all the pictures on our Facebook Page!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Operation Snowflake at Via West Campus December 3rd and 10th!!!

The Cupertino Rotary supported "Operation Snowflake" day has become a tradition at Via West Campus!

For our adult "Winter Wonderland" session December 2-4th, Rotarians will donate materials to Via West and run afternoon rotations with our counselors.   Activities such as tree decorating (the tree will be delivered by an antique firetruck and 4 firemen!!), elf hat making, and creating gift bags with wellness products for the homeless will be just a taste of the weekend!  Other activities include decorating Via West inside and out and a Holiday Banquet. It will be quite the festive weekend.

Then.. for our children's "Visions of Sugarplums" weekend, the Rotarians will be back, along with volunteers from Stevens Creek Quarry, Rolling Thunder Motorcycle Club, the Almaden School and many others to execute "Operation Snowflake"! This day will start with our participants going to rest after lunch at Via West Campus... and waking up in a snow covered wonderland!!  Cupertino Rotary and the Stevens Creek Quarry will have brought 10 tons of snow to Via West and volunteers will have transformed the lower campsite into a sled run and the main lawn into a snow play zone!!  Top that off with stocking making, cookies and cider, a sing-a-long, and that special man in red (SANTA!!!) will be making an appearance for photos. 

We can't wait for these wonderful weekends!!

Barnes & Noble Bookfair to Benefit DSRTF (Down Syndrome Research and Treatment Foundation)

Hey everyone!

Time to do your holiday shopping (already!!) and what better way to do some good this year than to purchase a gift that will give back to the community.  Barnes and Noble is having a fundraiser on November 25th and 26th to support Down syndrome research!! Check out below for details!  Happy Holidays to everyone!

A Portion of the Proceeds from In-Store and Online Sales Nationwide will be Donated to Advance Down syndrome Research  On November 25 and 26 if you provide the DSRTF Bookfair number - 10570232 - at checkout, DSRTF will receive a portion of the proceeds as a donation. You can also participate by shopping online from November 27 through December 1. Click Here for more information or get a copy of the Bookfair flyer here.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Holidays with Special Needs Family Members

A wonderful story from the National Down Syndrome Communicator!
Ahh...the holidays. Relaxing with family and friends. Great food and fellowship. Shopping for just the right gifts...


"AHH! The Holidays! How long are these relatives staying? Stop eating so much! I've never seen so much food in my life! Are you kidding me? I'm not going to the mall!"

The holiday season can provide some of the most joyful times in our lives, but they also undoubtedly can cause loads of stress. Is there anything we can do to make them less stressful? Planning and perspective. Here are some ideas: 
  1. Lower your expectations. No one really has a holiday that looks like a magazine photo shoot, with the possible exception of Martha Stewart. (And we suspect there's a little stress happening in that house, too.)
  2. Look at your calendar with the rest of your family and make realistic plans for shopping, baking and traveling. Say no to requests or events that put you over the edge.
  3. Be flexible. How often do things really go according to plan? Be ready to go with the flow.
  4. Ask for help. You can't be all things to all people all the time.
  5. Try to get enough sleep and exercise. It's good for you mentally and physically.
And how about for your family member with Down syndrome?
  1. Prepare for new places and new people by talking about where you'll be going and who you'll be seeing. Showing pictures will be helpful, too. "We're driving a long, long way to Aunt Peg's house. This is a picture of her dog named Molly. You'll be sleeping in a sleeping bag in your cousin Emma's room."
  2. Expect a disruption to normal routines, but try to keep to as many routines as practical. Especially when it comes to getting enough sleep and making healthy food choices. Too much sugar and too little sleep makes everyone miserable. (But, it is a holiday, so it's okay to ease up a little, right?)
  3. You know your child best - what can trigger a behavior problem or cause anxiety - so do your best to plan ahead to avoid those triggers.
  4. If you'll be seeing people who are unfamiliar with your child, educate them ahead of time, too. Let them know if there are safety concerns, sensory issues, or food allergies that could present a problem during a visit.
  5. Plan for alternate activities and enlist help from family and friends. If you know all of your relatives will want to go bowling, but the bowling alley is just too loud and chaotic, plan another activity for your child with Down syndrome. (A walk to the park with Uncle Jim? Hot chocolate at the coffee shop with Grandma?)
Planning ahead and preparing for both the expected and unexpected really does help. Enjoy these next few weeks as we wind down 2011. Take lots of photos and help create fun memories for your whole family!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Via Services will be at the Abilities Expo November 18-20th!!

We will be at the San Jose Abilities Expo on November 18-20, 2011 at the San Jose Convention Center where we would like to introduce you to all the great things they have to offer. 

In addition to us, there will be nearly 140 suppliers of products and services that will increase your quality of life through new technology, great seminars on important issues and networking opportunities that will meet your specific needs. The expo is FREE and it’s the leading event for people with disabilities, their families, caregivers, seniors, veterans and healthcare professionals. 

If you have not pre-registered, you can do so now and receive priority access to the show onsite. Here are just a few of the things that you will see at the Expo:
·         The latest products and services for people with ALL disabilities
·         Cutting-edge assistive technology at the AT Pavilion
·         FREE wheelchair repair
·         FREE loaner scooters
·         Low-cost daily living aids at the Retail Pavilion
·         Compelling workshops on the issues that make a difference to you
·         Special guest famed actor and best-selling author Henry Winkler will share his personal story about his mother's struggle with Upper Limb Spasticity
·         Check out award-winning film shorts at our disability film festival
·         Witness an innovation new horse therapy and meet one of the stars of The Horse Boy, a critically acclaimed film about a family's worldwide quest to help their autistic child
·         Canine assistance demo to learn how dogs can help their human partners
·         Hip-hop wheelchair dancing for the hottest dance moves on wheels
·         Adaptive sports like power soccer, adaptive tennis and pep squad
·         Essentials for seniors
·         Face painting for kids
·         Artist Market featuring the works of local artists with disabilities
·         FREE sign language interpreters
·         And more! 

Don't keep it to yourself! Bring your family. Tell your friends. With all of its life-enhancing possibilities, this event is a must-attend for anyone in the Community.

Abilities Expo San Jose is right around the corner so mark your calendar now, Friday, November 18 through Sunday, November 20 at the San Jose Convention Center. Click here
for directions and parking. We will see you there!!!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Thank you Kiwanians!!

A few weeks ago, over 60 Kiwanis members from various clubs came up to Via West Campus and planted flowers, painted the tool shed and Letterman Lodge, and helped to beautify the place for our participants. Check out their story in the Mercury News!! Thank you Kiwanians for your time and efforts!!