By C.D. DeSALVO
Since October 2015, the Northwest Kansas Down Syndrome Society has made it its mission to provide accurate and current information, resources and support for people with Down syndrome, their families and the community. The group spans eight counties and is currently comprised of approximately 25 families and other supporters of individuals with Down syndrome.
“I moved here (Hays) in 2012 from the Kansas City area, and my wife and I noticed that there were numerous ways for older kids in the area with Down syndrome who were already in the community to get involved with services,” said Alex Greene, one of the founders of NWKDSS and a father of an 8-year-old with Down syndrome. “For the new parents who did not know how to get involved, we created this support group/charity to mostly reach out to new parents and educate them on what to prepare for and what to expect.”
NWKDSS hosts a number of fundraisers throughout the year to help parents of children with Down syndrome and to help provide awareness to the communities by hosting various events. The biggest fundraiser for NWKDSS will be the second annual “Tee It Up for Down Syndrome” golf tournament held in April.
“We use the golf tournament as a way to raise funds. Bigger cities do these walks to raise mass amounts of funds, but walks are a lot of work and a lot of hard time and labor with T-shirts and signups,” said Green. “With a golf tournament, we can raise about the same amount of money in half the time.”
Last year was the inaugural golf tournament, and NWKDSS had 112 golfers and more than 30 community sponsors.
“To be completely honest, last year blew my mind,” Green said. “I assumed we would have maybe 40 golfers and raise awareness and raise a little bit of money and kind of have it be a stepping stone. It ended up being crazy. We netted a lot more than we expected money-wise.”
The event will include catering by TK’s Smokehaus and a silent auction that features items such as an autographed basketball by the 2016-17 University of Kansas men’s basketball team, a football autographed by Jamaal Charles, Ron Baker autographed items, and a Kansas City Royals package including tickets and an baseball signed by Mike Moustakas.
The golf tournament will be at Fort Hays State Municipal Golf Course on April 21 and will feature teams of four. Fees are $85 dollars per golfer or $320 per foursome. The event will begin at 10:30 a.m. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call Alex Green at 785-766-3483.
For more pictures from last year’s tournament or for information about the organization, visit the NWKDSS Facebook page.