Rock your socks in support of World Down Syndrome Day

TEAM INITIATIVE – Members of the Community Nursing Department outlined a number of events and activities geared towards Down Syndrome Awareness including Wacky Socks Day that is set for Wednesday, March 31. (PHOTO: JENNEVA RUSSELL)

Bright socks will be all the rage next week, as the GBHS School Health Services Nursing Department in partnership with the Down Syndrome Society of Grand Bahama, The Beacon School and Ministry of Education, Science and Technology celebrate Rock Your Socks/ Wacky Socks Day in support of World Down Syndrome Day on Wednesday, March 21.

Knee-length, trainer and ankle socks in myriad textural blends, bold color patterns and designs will be worn by students from primary school to high school, who will help to raise community awareness and knowledge of Down Syndrome, revealed Tamika Thompson, GBHS School Health Services Nursing Officer II.

“Down Syndrome is a Chromosomal Genetic Disorder, which the GBHS School Health Services Nursing Department along with the Down Syndrome Society of Grand Bahama, the Beacon School and Ministry of Education, Science and Technology are working together to not only raise community awareness of it but also assist in decreasing discrimination and negative stigma toward children and persons living with the disorder.

“One of our main goals involves the School Health Services Nursing Department highlighting the similarities shared between those that are born with Down Syndrome and an average person rather than focusing on the differences.

“Students living with Down Syndrome like an “average/normal” child love to cook, dance, sing and learn, therefore focus should be placed on these traits instead of the physical characteristics that set them apart.
“Definitely with care and support, students living with Down Syndrome can lead healthy, productive lives in spite of the fact that they do not have the normal 46 chromosomes of the average person.

“Notably, persons living with Down Syndrome, have 47 chromosomes, which simply means rather than having 23 pairs chromosomes on their 21st pair, the individual has a third copy known as trisomy 21 and is typically associated with physical growth delays, characteristic facial features and mild to moderate intellectual disability.

“Of course we not only want schools across the Grand Bahama community to support our collaborative efforts with the Down Syndrome Society of Grand Bahama and The Beacon School, but also corporate and civic Grand Bahama to participate in Rock Your Socks/ Wacky Socks Day, this Wednesday, March 21 and let us celebrate World Down Syndrome Day by rocking our best and most unique socks in support,” said Thompson.

Delighted to partner and assist in this noble effort, Ministry of Education District Superintendent for East Grand Bahama and the Cays Yvonne Ward noted letters have been sent to all Government schools, encouraging teachers, students as well as parents to participate by supporting Rock Your Socks/ Wacky Socks Day for Down Syndrome.

According to District Superintendent Ward, “Schools are encouraged to take part in this initiative that will not only help to heighten awareness and education of students living with Down Syndrome but also allow the creative talents of all to be explored for a worthy cause.

“Students will have the opportunity to design their own Wacky Socks as well as compete in intra-school Rock Your Socks/ Wacky Socks Day Poster Contests.

“Additionally, schools will utilize the Rock Your Socks/ Wacky Socks Day to raise much-needed funds in support of both the Down Syndrome Society of Grand Bahama and the participating primary and high schools.

“Certainly, this is an awesome way to lend support, give back, educate our students but more importantly celebrate the many similarities shared between average students and those with special needs as all of God’s creation is fearfully and wonderfully made and we are each unique.”

Registered Nurse Vernetta Russell, GBHS School Health Services Nursing Officer pointed out unique markers associated with the Rock Your Socks/ Wacky Socks Day for Down Syndrome such as butterflies, footprints, t21 and yellow and blue colored ribbons, which can be used in both sock and poster designs.

Encouraging everyone to donate at least one dollar in support of the Rock Your Socks/ Wacky Socks Day for Down Syndrome to be donated to the Down Syndrome Society of Grand Bahama, School Health Services Nursing Officer Russell said, “Grand Bahama, your support is vital in helping us to rid our community of any and all misconceptions and negative stigmas associated with Down Syndrome.

“Persons living with this disorder are loving just like you and me, thus we must all come together to raise awareness and education, particularly among our youth.

“The Down Syndrome Society of Grand Bahama led by Wendi Hanna has been exhausting all efforts to educate all but by supporting this initiative and raising funds through participating in Rock Your Socks/ Wacky Socks Day at all the schools and businesses, with monies derived going directly to the Society so much more can be accomplished.

“Even though there will not be a competition in the workplaces across the island, we the GBHS School Health Services Nursing Department are asking everyone to get involved and next Wednesday, March 21 to create and rock their socks as well as raise funds in support donating to the Down Syndrome Society of Grand Bahama.”

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