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In many ways we have used Toronto as our ‘test market’ to see what is wanted, what works and what doesn’t.
The goal has been to coordinate families and existing organizations that are engaged with Down syndrome and try and create a more connected community. There have been some good things that have come from these initiatives.

Locally within the Greater Toronto Area we have started to form strategic alliances with organizations that contribute to successful outcomes for families who have children with Down syndrome. Partnerships have been loose, really more relationship building exercises and exchanges of information. This includes leading organizations such as:

  • Special Olympics Ontario
  • Motion Ball
  • Community Living Toronto
  • Common Ground Co-operative
  • Plan
  • Recreational Respite
  • L’Arche (Sol Express)
  • Speech Therapist Tina Gasee
  • Medek Therapist Esther Fink
  • Blue Balloon
  • Surrey Place Centre
  • Centennial Infant and Child Centre
  • Dramaway
  • Down Syndrome Research Institute
  • And Associations including Down Syndrome Association of Toronto, Halton Down Syndrome Association and the Peterborough Down Syndrome Association
  • Health organizations including Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center, Mount Sinai, Bloorview and The Hospital for Sick Children
  • Creating our Community

    Finding out who’s who. Circle 21 has been seeking people who are connected to Down syndrome. People who have family and/or friends who have Down syndrome. Slowly we have been getting to know and leverage who makes up our community. Because as we’ve all heard some time before: it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. We have created a database of hundreds families who have children with Down syndrome, we have produced monthly newsletters that highlight events and organizations in and around Toronto that support Down syndrome, and have ourselves contributed to the schedule by hosting a regular series of parent and family events. The objective of these events has been to help ‘jump start’ local programming that doesn’t exist already. By gathering families with children who have Down syndrome, at different ages and stages, we have naturally started building our community connectivity.

    Circle 21 events are low to no cost, encourage communication, and are open to everyone who wants to be a part of our growing community. While these ‘light’ activities are not where we see Circle 21 making the long term, sustainable impact, they are helping the community become more connected in the immediate term.