North Hancock Elementary School hosted an event on Monday, March 21 to celebrate World Down Syndrome Day. Principal, Kelly Moore, invited Tiffany Thrash, Executive Director of Green River Area Down Syndrome Association (GRADSA), to attend and speak.
“We had 5 of our adults with Down Syndrome there: Merek Justice, Dana Hamilton, Michael Smith, Leland Isbil, and Ashley Hagan,” Tiffany said. “They all live in the Owensboro area, and came to talk to students about abilities, diversity, inclusion, and the importance of celebrating and honoring Down Syndrome. They introduced themselves in the microphone. They told everyone their name, and talked about anything that they wanted to talk about – their hobbies, their jobs…We had one who shot free throws. We had Leland, who played on the harmonica. The purpose was to bring awareness to the abilities that individuals with Down Syndrome have. It was all in honor of World Down Syndrome Day. . .It’s a time when everyone in the world acknowledges the different abilities that people have, including people with Down Syndrome. We’re with an organization called GRADSA, and I’ve been with them for 5 years.”
Tiffany shared more about the day, “We talked about how blue and yellow are the Down Syndrome awareness colors. And, about ‘Rock Your Socks’ – it’s a campaign that people all over the world do to celebrate on World Down Syndrome Day. People wear colorful socks, and they represent the differences in our chromosomes. Our slogan at GRADSA is ‘More alike than different.’ That’s something that we talked about today, as well – How we’re all different, but we are more alike than different.”
“I thought it was great. I thought that the kids were educated, and the teachers had done a really good job – the principal, the administration, they had done a really good job to educate the students on what World Down Syndrome Day is. And, the kids participated well. It was just a good event all around,” she added.
“My primary purpose (at GRADSA) is to spread awareness, and one of the main ways that I do that is I’m just always available. I’m always just a phone call, text, or facebook message away for our kids and our families. We serve 175 individuals with Down Syndrome a year. All of our programs are free. We offer Medicaid services, but we also offer free programs for all of our families. We’re just really busy raising awareness, but also serving our kids and our adults, as well as their families. We serve seven counties in Western Kentucky. We actually just launched the first All Down Syndrome Basketball League in Kentucky – The GRADSA Basketball League. We have two dance teams. We are just very immersed and involved in the community,” Tiffany said.
Tiffany and her husband, Josh, are both originally from Arkansas. They’ve lived in Owensboro for 7 years. They are blessed with a daughter, and a son: Jaylin and Gunner.
By Jennifer Wimmer