The Down Syndrome Guild SHARE project was started last year by senior Corinne Stratton along with senior co-chairs Abby and Sally Sweeney (and sophomore co-chair Emma Pirotte this year). While signing up for the Trolley Run, her first SHARE project, Stratton read that she could sign up to be a chair for another one. While doing some research on local nonprofit organizations, the Down Syndrome Guild caught her attention.
“I’m interested in working with nonprofits for special needs kids, since I have a sister with special needs,” Stratton said. “So I wanted to find another organization [that helps kids with special needs].”
The Down Syndrome Guild is a Kansas City-based nonprofit organization that benefits families that have a child with Down syndrome. It holds meetings and support groups and provides childcare for kids while their parents are at the meetings.
Volunteers for this SHARE project go to the Guild about once a month to help with childcare. They try to bring enough volunteers to have one per child, which is usually about 10. Last year, they ran a craft table at the Guild’s Christmas party. They also plan and run holiday dances over the course of the year for Halloween, Christmas and Valentine’s Day. Stratton’s favorite event is the Halloween dance, since she likes seeing all the kids get dressed up.
“Some of [the kids] get really into it,” Stratton said. “I really enjoy talking to the kids and it’s one place they feel really welcome and comfortable talking to everyone there. It’s even more fun because you have something to talk about (their costumes).”
The Guild holds programs all year round, but since it is a school activity, SHARE volunteers only help during the school year.