The last few years have been a little tough for WDSA. But recently Deborah Jones twisted the arms of a few people and got some new blood on the WDSA committee.
Last year we spent a bit of time sorting out our contact list and systems (switching to Office 365). A huge thanks to Tim Waight from UDK Creative for his awesome design work and support for our new website https://www.wdsa.co.nz/. We are particaurly keen to hear from you if you know of any resources we are missing on https://www.wdsa.co.nz/resources. Last year also spent some time getting our finances in good shape with some fundraising, thanks heaps to the committee but particularly to Ruth Coard our fundraising ninja.
For the start of this year we have some great family events planned https://www.wdsa.co.nz/our-events/ including a couple of regional family days.
Our first event was in Masterton, as we had feedback about doing more in Wairarapa. We had a BBQ picnic at Queen Elisabeth park. We rode the mini train and played mini golf. We had planned on doing some paddle boating, but the lake didn’t have enough water in it due to the dry summer.
We are really looking forward to an awesome party for our World Down Syndrome Day Disco on 21st of March. We are going to have a progressive age group glow stick disco and we have invited StarJam and the JDK Dance Crew to show us some moves too.
In June we are combining our AGM with some education seminars/workshops. We are fortunate that Christian Wright is going to be speaking on behavior and Sue Elworth with be talking about her experiences of transitioning out of school.
Last year we ran a survey and got good feedback about what events people wanted and what they valued from WDSA. One key focus for us this year will be to reinvigorate our ‘Age Group’ catchups which have fallen away a little.
We used some of our funding to subsidize an online course ‘Effective education for children with Down Syndrome in school’ https://www.wdsa.co.nz/2019/12/dse-ed-course-subsidy/ this proved very popular with a range or parents, teachers and MoE staff signing up to start this year. We are working on ideas for how to best help in the education space.
We are also working on improving our connections with other organisations and linking into other resources. If you are aware of useful resources the rest of the community could benefit from; we would love to list them here https://www.wdsa.co.nz/resources/
A big challenge of ours is getting people to sign up / keep their details up to date on our contact list. We have lots of people connected via Facebook but who are not necessarily WDSA members (even though membership is free). NZDSA Wellington contacts and WDSA contacts don’t always sync. We did a big reconciliation and the committee have tried to contact old WDSA members but please encourage your contacts to sign up https://www.wdsa.co.nz/contact/
Related to this is a challenge of reaching new parents in the Hospital. Deborah and Ruth are doing a great job. They are investigating posters in the hospitals and have created a new parent pack to give to parents but it’s often very hit and miss if we find out about a new family in the greater Wellington region.
As with any group, administration can be time consuming. All our committee are volunteers but as we get larger and try to do more, we are going to need to investigate a paid part time administrator.
We are very keen to connect with other committees, and work together where we can.