Archive for December 7th, 2012

Karen Gaffney Nominated for “Woman of the Year” Award

December 7th, 2012 by Global Down Syndrome Foundation

Karen GaffneyChampion open-water swimmer Karen Gaffney, who received the Global Down Syndrome Foundation’s Quincy Jones Exceptional Advocacy Award in 2010, has been nominated for the “Woman of the Year” award by the World Open Water Swimming Association.

SHE NEEDS YOUR HELP! Voting for the award is open through Dec. 31, and you can click here to show her your support. The winner will be announced Jan. 1.

The World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year honors the woman who (1) best embodies the spirit of open water swimming, (2) possesses the sense of adventure, tenacity and perseverance that open water swimmers are known for, and (3) has most positively influenced the world of open water swimming during the year.

In addition to her swimming accomplishments, which include crossing the English Channel as part of a relay team, and swimming the full length of Lake Tahoe, Karen is president of a nonprofit organization dedicated to championing the journey to full inclusion in families, schools, the workplace and the community for people with developmental disabilities. Learn more about the Karen Gaffney Foundation at or on Facebook.

Here is what the World Open Water Swimming Association award nomination says about Karen:

Karen Gaffney is a champion in every sense of the word: a humble heroine, a remarkable role model, a spectacular speaker. The English Channel relay swimmer has dedicated herself and the tools at her disposal to champion a journey to full inclusion in families, schools, communities and the workplace for people with Down syndrome or other developmental disabilities. With dramatic open water swims to emphasize one’s potential, as well as her speeches, video tapes and resource materials, she constantly installs hope for others with Down syndrome. Her lifestyle proves a full productive and inclusive life is in store for parents and families of a child born with Down syndrome or other learning disabilities. For her swims across Lake Champlain, Lake Tahoe, in Hawaii and in San Francisco Bay, for her ability to heighten awareness and raise expectations of students, counselors, educators and those in the medical profession of the capabilities of children with Down syndrome to learn, grow and contribute in an inclusive setting, Karen Gaffney is a worthy nominee for the 2012 WOWSA Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year.”

Please go to the voting page to cast a ballot for Karen, and spread the word to friends and family to support her as well.

Congratulations, Karen, on your nomination!

2 Be Beautiful Be Yourself Dancers to Perform in “Nutcracker”

December 7th, 2012 by Global Down Syndrome Foundation

Eliza Richard

Eliza Richard

For the first time, two children from the Global Down Syndrome Foundation’s Be Beautiful Be Yourself Dance Class will be on stage for the Colorado Ballet production of the holiday classic “Nutcracker,” to the delight of a huge audience.

The Colorado Ballet’s “Nutcracker” will feature performers with Down syndrome on Tuesday, Dec. 18, and Wednesday, Dec. 19, at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House, 1101 13th Street in Denver.

Eliza Richard, 10, will be part of the Dec. 18 “Nutcracker,” and Schuyler Kropp, 7, will take to the stage on Dec. 19. Both performances are scheduled for 6:30 p.m.

Eliza and Schuyler will be partyers who go out on the stage with other children and adults as they celebrate the season.

Schuyler Kropp

Schuyler Kropp

The Colorado Ballet is a partner with the Global Down Syndrome Foundation in the Be Beautiful Be Yourself Dance Class. The classes run for 10 weeks and teach ballet movement, music appreciation, rhythm and basic dance steps to children ages 5-14 who have Down syndrome.

Go support our dancers while taking in a holiday classic. Tickets to the “Nutcracker” are available by clicking here.

Congratulations, Eliza and Schuyler, and we look forward to seeing you shine in the “Nutcracker”!