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Sue Williams Appointed Director of Down Syndrome Aim High Resource Center, building on a tradition of support and education

Sue Williams.jpgThe Down Syndrome Aim High Resource Center (DSAHRC) is an invaluable resource for the Capital Region, bringing awareness of the talents and abilities of people with Down syndrome to the community and a wide range of supports to individuals with Down syndrome and their families. 

DSAHRC at the Center for Disability Services (CFDS) provides services as wide-ranging as providing information in newborn nurseries, family to family connections, tutoring for children and adults, playgroups for children, self-advocacy training, IEP support for families and consultation and education for teachers and health care professionals, to name just a few. 

According to Greg Sorrentino, CEO of the Center for Disability Services, “with the announcement of the appointment of Sue Williams as Director, DSAHRC will be in a position to take on new challenges and create new opportunities.  Sue brings both a professional and personal commitment to the mission of DSAHRC.”

Sue has 34 years of working in Human Services, all with CFDS, and she is the sister of a woman who has Down syndrome.  Following her graduation from Plattsburgh State University, Sue worked for 20 years in the Center’s Residential Services division in various management roles.  She then moved to the Service Coordination Division as a manager and then became its director with responsibility for 1600 families. Sue’s sister, Lauren, lives in a CFDS residence, participates in CFDS day habilitation, receives dental services and is employed in its Mail Fulfillment Center. All of Sue’s service has always been guided by her principle that all individuals and families need and deserve the same dignity, respect and opportunities to which her sister and family are entitled.

With her education, experience and personal passion for the mission, Sue states, “I am excited to be in a position to strengthen and enhance DSAHRC’s services as part of the Center family.  In order to do that we must hear from families and professionals, so we will be investing time and resources into finding out exactly what families, community professionals and individuals with Down syndrome want and need. Our goal is not only to grow and enhance the current services but also to refocus services and connect with area families affected by Down syndrome who are not yet availing themselves of DSAHRC’s services.  Remembering that the middle initials of DSAHRC stand for ‘Aim High’, we will do all we can to support individuals to achieve what they and their families aim for.” 

One key component of expanding awareness of individuals with Down syndrome is the annual Capital Region Buddy Walk. Sorrentino says, “We are very excited to be part of the nationally celebrated annual Buddy Walk as we walk to raise awareness of individuals with Down syndrome and connect with the community”.  The walk this year is to be held on October 19. This fun event, which is in its 23rd year, is also a fundraiser for DSAHRC which benefits programs and services such as parent-to-parent contact, consultation and new parent support, educational advocacy, social and recreational events, activities for self-advocates, and much more.  The Walk is held at Schenectady’s Central Park and is an inspirational and educational event celebrating the many abilities and accomplishments of individuals with Down syndrome. Sorrentino hopes you will come out and support this great day.

The Buddy Walk also provides an opportunity to connect with and engage parents, individuals with Down syndrome, and other members of the community.  According to Sue, this year’s event is going to look a bit different. In addition to community connections and celebration of individuals with Down syndrome, the Buddy Walk offers the opportunity to connect with other people supported by not only DSAHRC but also by other programs at the Center for Disability Services, a leading provider of services for individuals with disabilities, and their families, in the Capital Region. 

In addition to food, activities, entertainment, and educational exhibits, the highlight is the walk around Central Park.  Sue is looking forward to getting all of the prior year’s teams established, including her sister’s team, “Team Lauren” and to increasing the number of teams and sponsors, making this year’s Buddy Walk the biggest, best and most fun ever.   If you’d like more information on forming a team, you can email her at s_williams@cfdsny.org

According to Sue, “This Buddy Walk is just the beginning of an exciting time in the story of DSAHRC, a time of growth and enhancement, building on the past to further create every opportunity for all individuals with Down syndrome to “Aim High’ and thrive in every way they and their families hope for. So, come on out and participate.  You’ll have a great day! And you’ll be making an important difference for everyone who has Down Syndrome and everyone whose life is touched by someone with Down Syndrome. See you on the 19th!” 

For more information on the Buddy Walk, visit our Facebook page: Down Syndrome Aim High Resource Center.  Additionally, visit our webpage: www.cfdsny.org/dsahrc  for information about the Buddy Walk and to learn more about the Down Syndrome Aim High Resource Center.