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Moscow hosts 21st charity bike fest

Moscow hosted a charity bike ride to support children with Down syndrome. The key objective of the event organised by the Downside Up Foundation is to draw attention to people with special needs and raise funds to finance career guidance programmes for teenagers with Down syndrome, as well as educational programmes developed by the Foundation. The amount of money raised totalled RUB 4,907,128.

The high point of the 21st bike ride “Sport Vo Blago” (“Charity Sports”), which started in the Kaluga Region, was the Bike Fest held in Moscow. Parents of children under the Foundation’s care and young people with Down syndrome hit the road along with other participants, including: Andrei Vostrikov, multiple all-round world gymnastics champion among people with special mental needs, winner of over 70 various medals; Stepan Bezrukov, winner of over 20 medals in swimming; and Gleb Diachenko, multiple winner and medalist at the Special Olympics. They set a good example, showing that we all have special needs, and people with limited abilities can exceed! Mikhail Mikhailov, the father of eight kids, also took part in the ride. His youngest daughter was born with Down syndrome. After that, Mikhail and his wife decided to adopt two girls with the same special needs. Now their three youngest daughters are under the care of the Downside Up Foundation.

The route of the Moscow Bike Fest ran from Luzhniki to VDNH. After 100 km, anyone could join the remaining 23-kilometer ride along the most beautiful Moscow streets and embankments, which were closed for the bike ride. As a result, over 550 cyclists gathered at the start line, including corporate teams and individuals. Some of them were wearing bright suits and rode bicycles of unusual design. Everyone will remember a cyclist dressed as Father Frost, riding a bicycle that was transformed into a three-horse team (“troika”) and a cart with a Christmas tree.

At the finish line, the participants were greeted by their loyal supporters – little kids under the care of the Downside Up Foundation. They welcomed the riders with a heart-stirring ride on kids bikes. The Bike Fest ended up with an award ceremony, gala concert and prize drawing in VDNH.

The first Downside Up Europe Teens Cup took place in Moscow

A unique charity project, that knitted teenagers from European countries took place in Moscow and in culture and education tourism centre “Ethnomir”. It was called Downside Up Europe Teens Cup and was held for the first time. The idea of the event came to the Downside Up founder Jeremy Barnes and his 15- year-old daughter who see their mission both in supporting children with Down syndrome in Russia and in involving the young generation into charity.

The participants of the project, 14-16- year-old teenagers, collected money by their own efforts for the DSU educational programmes before coming to Russia. When gathered in Moscow they studied our culture and traditions together with DSU leavers. The teenagers went to see “Ethnomir”, investigated the capital centre, visited Kremlin, came down to the Bunker-42 in Taganka, walked around VDNKh.

In the end of their trip they spent a volunteer day at DSU and helped to prepare the educational and game materials for the new academic year. In the evening the guests with DSU graduates and employees walked along the Moscow river on a tourist boat.

Downside Up Charity run: a sports gala to support children with Down syndrome

The 7th annual Charity run within the framework of “Charity sport” project to support children with Down syndrome took place in Moscow. About 1000 runners stood on starting line. The event raised 1535900 roubles. All money will go to the Speech development programme “We start speaking” for children with Down syndrome all around Russia.

Novelties of this year Run are: the 50 metres distance for the smallest participants and a half maraphon (21 km). Those who did not find the strength to take part in the Run itself, could compete in the Fun Run, where wearing a bright unusual costume was more important than running fast. Organizers also prepared a lot of capturing funny amusements. Among them were a family quest, a concert, games and creative workshops for adults and kids, yoga training from an internationally recognized yoga teacher and others.

Nobody lost in the Run as all the participants could overcome themselves, the distance, stereotypes and myths about Down syndrome. But we would like to mention Denis Bulgakov, 20-years-old Michael and little Vasya`s father. He ran 20 km with a heavy jogging stroller and Vasya, who is enrolled into Downside Up programmes, himself.

Anastasia Myskina, the first Russian female tennis player to win a Grand Slam singles title supported the event with her personal participation. The famous sportswoman held a special flash mob through social networking sites inviting everybody to train and run. The authors of the funniest pictures from trainings got prizes from her hands at the award ceremony. Kirov and Samara held their events on the same day as Moscow. Totally in May seven Russian cities took part in “Charity sport” Run including Volgograd, Ekaterinburg, Irkutsk and Omsk.

Downside Up and RSSU have signed a Memorandum of Understanding

Charitable Fund Downside Up and Russian State Social University have signed a Cooperation Agreement in the sphere of inclusive education and inclusive adapted physical education. Anna Portugalova, Downside Up CEO, and Natalya Pochinok, the RSSU Rector, subscribed their names to the Memorandum.

The participants of the ceremony pointed out the importance of understanding and gave high marks to the perspectives of the future cooperation in scientific research, education and consultations.The aim of the collaboration is to establish the infrastructure of social adaptation, integration, rehabilitation and assistance in improving the quality of life on basis of collaborative projects and events.

Anna Portugalova told about the meeting afterwards: “Together with the RSSU Rector Natalya Pochinok we discussed the plans for our closest cooperation. They concern football training lessons for the children with Down syndrome who attend Downside Up within the framework of “Charity sport” project and developing a technology to be transferred to trainers. We also touched the theme of joint educational programmes for social workers and psychologists. I may say that the agreement between us is both a high honor and invaluable help in our work. The resources of the largest social university in our country will help our fund to transfer our many years` experience to professionals and students. The cooperation with RSSU is the recognition of our achievements as well. I`m sure that our collaboration will help to fulfil our mission which is improving the quality of life for people with Down syndrome. We may try to make our long-cherished dream come true by combining our efforts”.

“A Memorandum of Understanding is very essential to us, - Irina Menshenina, DSU development director, emphasizes. “It gives us support from the scientific society in the sphere of transferring our long-term experience which we share now as practicians. To help this experience become significant for professionals, it should be supported with methodologies based on research which is a key moment for higher education”.

Downside Up was recognized as the best company of the year 2015

The business awards gala ceremony for the winners of the prize for “Best.ru / Company of the year-2015” took place in Moscow. Charitable fund Downside Up was recognized as the best company of the year in “Social projects” nomination for “Charity Sport” project. Evelina Blyodans, a famous TV presenter and DSU friend and honorary ambassador represented the fund and got the prize.

As Irina Menshenina, DSU development director says: “We`re so glad and proud to get this prestigious award. Our project “Charity Sport” celebrates its 20th anniversary. We gathered a real family of companies, participants of sport events and those getting aid from our organization around it. We are grateful to our partners, friends and all those companies that were and are supporting us with their active participation in the events of the project.”

The hall where the ceremony took place was decorated in a spacecraft style with the space robot Boris as the presenter who called the names of the winners. The prizes were given in three spheres: “Companies of the year”, “People of the year”, “Events and Projects of the year.” As in previous years, the guests included top executives, leading experts in different fields, social and political figures of our country and businessmen.

The aim of the project is to attract attention to the companies and individuals, whose energy, feeling and talent managed to create leading brands, projects and companies which became Russian market leaders.

«Lukomorie», a Downside Up theatre workshop unique project

World Down Syndrome Day is celebrated for the 10th time this year and it is a good occasion to demonstrate the high creative potential which is hidden in people with 47 chromosomes. The festival which took place in the Central House of Actors in Moscow with the support of Downside Up was timed to coincide with this date.

The main idea of the event was focused on the opening night of the play “Lukomorie”, prepared by the “sunny” pupils of the theatre workshop which is located at Downside Up in cooperation with such brilliant masters of stage as Sergey Yurskiy who recited the text especially for the performance, George Avsharov and Sergey Fursov.

The theatre workshop which is attended by children with Down syndrome has just been working for several months. They were those who acted the major parts in the show performed as a shadow play. “We set great goals, with no allowance for Down syndrome, and we wanted to light the feeling of wonderful inspiration in the hearts of our spectators, not the sympathy.”- Nikolay Ilnitskiy, the play director wrote on his Facebook page on the eve of the opening night. He says, that the plastic performance aimed to demonstrate the children`s nature, as their plasticity is much richer than decorations.

One can tell about the success of the play from the spectators` feedback. It was more than just capturing to watch the show. It was inspiring and joyful in a special way, as it always happens when one watches a creative liberation of soul which is promoted by real art.

Olivia Wilde Plays a Girl With Down Syndrome

Actress Olivia Wilde appears in the latest moving film by Saatchi & Saatchi for CoorDown, Italy's national organization for people with Down Syndrome.

Previous efforts by Saatchi' s Milan office for the charity have won awards including 18 Cannes Lions, and this time the agency's New York office worked on the spot, which is narrated by a 19-year-old college student with Down Syndrome, Anna Rose Rubright. In this film, Wilde plays AnnaRose as she sees herself -- an ordinary girl, out with her family, laughing, crying, running and dancing. It's only at the end we see the real Anna Rose, and she asks "How do you see me?"

The spot, directed by Reed Morano at Pulse Films, highlights World Down Syndrome Day on March 21. It aims to start a conversation around how those living with Down Syndrome see themselves and how they can be disadvantaged when people pre-judge them based on their condition.

Children with Down syndrome met hundreds of new friends

Hundreds of people who are not indifferent to children with Down syndrome gathered on February 14 to take part in the charity ski race and prove once again that doing good is as generous as exciting and sporting. The 13th charity race to support children with Down syndrome broke the record for the number of participants. Despite bad weather 629 sportsmen stood on the starting line.

People came with their families, friends and colleagues. All that was done to encourage the participants of the race and help the little ones involved into Downside Up programmes to take their first step, say their first word, and go the kindergarten or to school. This year 1 595 795 rubles were collected on the early intervention programmes for “sunny” children. That`s a fantastic sum of money!

The race programme offered distances for everybody, from 500 m for the smallest children to more difficult 3, 5 and 10 km for adults. This year those who are most resilient could try a 15 km distance. The participants could take part in a relay race or joyful competitions without skis for corporate teams, and visit our famous open air kitchen, try hot tea and special “sport” mulled wine. Afterwards medals for all players and prizes for winners were prepared, as well as the entertainment programme and the draw where people could get valuable presents.

This year four-footed pets from a sled dog club traditionally took part in the race. Alaskan malamutes, so cute, who attracted attention of all little ones, took part in the exhibition dog sled ride. Certainly, all could pet them and take a picture.

The professional judging panel was represented by the head coach of the Russian national crossbow shooting team Svetlana Salnikova, the first Russian champion in the 24hours ski race and European champion in winter triathlon Natalia Sila-Novitskaya, and master of sports, the Russian champion and World and European Championships medalist Olga Klimova.

Annually ski race “Charity sport” is held in several Russian cities at the same time. This time Kirov started one day earlier and passed the torch to Moscow. Totally 11 cities from different Russian regions took part in Charity Sport ski race under the auspices of Downside Up.

DSU is a good deeds charity

The past two winter months were packed with different events for Downside Up. The charity held several actions aimed at raising money to support children with Down syndrome. Totally more than 1 200 000 roubles were collected on the early intervention programmes for them. Both individuals and business companies joined the events.

On December, 1 the main online Downside Up campaign titled “All-Russian charitable event #the farther you go into the wood” started. All guests could enter the virtual fir forest, which grew on the DSU website and choose any toy that was an irreplaceable gift for a child with special needs. It could be a speech therapy session or a lesson on counting, or even a preparing for school course. Those who gave presents had a chance to leave a wish for the children and their parents, post their own picture or invite their friends into the magic wood.

Our Christmas trees, however, appeared not only online. DSU friendly companies and partners put real beautiful trees in their offices, whose branches were decorated with children`s dreams. Anybody could give “sunny” children a chance to take their 1st step, say their 1st word or go to the 1st form.

And, surely, the winter without Christmas markets is not the winter! We could not help but take a part in some events held by companies to fundraise to support the early intervention programmes for children with Down syndrome. The employees in the offices where Christmas bazaars were organised had a chance to purchase unique handmade presents and contribute to the help for children

We also held to who we are and traditionally offered the companies to change their usual gifts for partners into our New year`s cards, which were made by the children with Down syndrome`s hands. It`s both unusual and warm courtesy as each card holds the warmth of the child`s hands, his parents` love and the educator`s talent.

We thank everybody who made a holiday to children with special needs. And who helped to believe that wishes come true not only on New Year`s day!

Downside Up participated in the russian branding awards ceremony

The traditional awards ceremony for the winners of the prize for “The Brand number 1 in Russia” and a pre New Year`s day gala concert took place at the State Kremlin Palace. Downside Up got a chance to participate in the event.

The award process was interchanged with the performances of the idols of Russian audience such as Larissa Dolina, Valeria, Lev Leshchenko, Lolita, Alexander Rosenbaum, Masha Rasputina, Valeriy Leontyev and others. The families enrolled into our programmes and friends of our fund were invited as well.

The winners told about social responsibility of their business and charity programmes they are involved in. One of the influential guests was Evelina Blyodans, a Downside Up honourary ambassador. She came to the stage together with her son Syoma who is a little recipient of our fund. She told about DSU work and offered the guests to support the little ones with Down syndrome with sending a text message to a short code 3443 containing letters DS and any sum of money to donate to the early intervention programmes. We want to thank the organisers of the Russian awards ceremony for the winners of the prize for the “Brand number 1 in Russia” for the brilliant opportunity and wonderful event.

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