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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 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.

Four-footed colleagues and the career guidance program for people with Down syndrome

Downside Up Charity Fund and Mars Company represented by Pedigree Trademark did the first Russian research in the field of career guidance for people with Down syndrome. It allowed them to get basic knowledge about caring for dogs.

The experiment started in May 2015 with the preparation stage up to November. It included 5 participants of the project to come twice a week to a canine centre and a hotel for dogs Hors located near Moscow. As animals feel more lonely being far from their masters, it is there where they need special care. The young people learned how to work, how to be responsible and independent when caring for dogs. Therefore this helped to find one solution for two problems.

A specially designed program started with “the attentive adaptation”, when participants were supported by dog specialists and psychologists all the time, who also helped to control all stages of work. Then came the time for “the free adaptation”, when the young people got more freedom as they knew the animals, their needs and what they had to do.

“17 years ago the main task for our fund was children with Down syndrome staying with their families, their education and socialization. There were so many parents who abandoned them as there didn`t know what to do with their baby. Today we need to go further and develop the possibilities for the realization of their personal potential in career and society”, -Irina Menshenina, Development Director says.

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.

Downside Up took part in the charity auction named Action!

A pre New Year`s Day charity auction takes place annually on the first December Saturday in Moscow. It is organised by Svetlana Bondarchuk and Eugeniya Popova`s PR International agency. The festive evening is a traditional gathering place for Moscow beau monde. Famous directors, scriptwriters, theatre and cinema actors, entertainment industry people and businessmen attend the event.

This year the project was supported by honoured Russian directors including Renata Litvinova, Anna Melikyan, Vladimir Khotinenko, Janik Faiziev, Andrey Zvyagintsev, Alexey Utchitel and many others among them. Each of them made a narrative short film on any subject for the occasion. The movies were shown on a big screen. Afterwards an auction where any person could buy the picture he or she enjoyed started. The owners of the items gained the films and became the copyright holders.

Anna Melikyan`s drama “8” earned 9 million roubles which is a record. It made her the winner. “All actors asked nothing for their work”, she said. Totally the auction got more than 50 million roubles which will go to such charities as Downside Up, Let you live!, Gift of life, Anton`s right here, Women`s health, Exit, Artist, Life as a miracle, Creation.

Downside Up was represented by the fundraising director Irina Menshenina and the project manager Julia Goncharova. “It`s the first time Downside Up has got the honour to take part in such event”, Julia said after wards. – “It`s priceless for us as the auction will help provide the support for the children under our care. I`d like to thank Alexander Kott and Anna Tsukanova-Kott for their narrative short film “Transformation” which was put out for bids to raise money for Downside Up and got 1 million roulbles. We hope that our participation in this event will become regular. And we wish it from the bottom of our hearts.”

A charity concert in support of Russian children with Down syndrome was held in New York

A charity concert was held at The Consulate General of the Russian Federation in New York on 27th March. A part of the money raised will go to Downside Up to support children with Down syndrome in Russia.

Musicians from different countries including Japan, Estonia, Ukraine, Georgia and the USA took part in the concert. The programme included Peter Tchaikovsky`s works who is regarded as one of the symbols of Russian culture. American celebrated Soprano Monique McDonald prepared the aria from “The Queen of Spades” for the concert in Russian language. “It was hard for me, she says, I interpreted every word and tried to pronounce them correctly. This language is the language of music that unites us and gives us the chance to help others”.

The winners of the first Charity Award, established by «Downside Up» were announced

The official ceremony of the first Charity Award in support of children with Down syndrome, established by «Downside Up», took place in Moscow. This Charity Award is given once in three years on the eve of the World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD), which is observed on March 21. The idea to establish this award arose out of the global desire to thank people enrolled in support of children with Down syndrome and also with a view to synergize the efforts in this regard.

The Gala Evening at Ritz-Carlton was led by the famous Russian showman Valdis Pelsh and Amariya Rye, successful writer and our longstanding friend. Jeremy Barnes, Downside Up’s trustee, opened the ceremony and welcomed all participants. He noted: «18 years ago when «Downside Up» was formed no one could even imagine that it will reach such heights. Of course it would be impossible without massive efforts by hundreds people and organisations. Today we gathered here to thank all of you for all that you are doing for families, having children with Down syndrome», – Jeremy Barns addressed the audience.

«Our first experience was very successful», Yulia Kolesnichenko, press office chief of Downside Up said. «Of course, it was not easy to organize such big event. Moreover, it was our first experience. However, the ceremony was a great success and at the same time it was very heart-stirring. The words of appreciation and gratitude made the audience laugh and cry. Winners and guests came to the ceremony from different cities and countries. Throughout this event we heard: «For me it was the best evening for the whole year», «I have visited many ceremonies but this one has a specific atmosphere», and even «Now I know that for the coming years my goal is to make everything possible to step up to this stage once again and accept the Downside Up’s prize».

The prize-winners were governmental institutions, non-commercial organisations, Russian and foreign companies, mass media and members of the public, who have made outstanding contributions to support children with Down syndrome in Russia. The prizes were awarded in 12 categories. Sergey Koloskov, president of the Down's Syndrome Association was awarded for his outstanding contribution to raising public awareness of Down syndrome. On receiving this award he noted: «Children with Down syndrome and their families continued to be deprived of necessary support. They remain deprived of inclusive education, they deprived of support, which they need to integrate into society. We shouldn’t forget to draw the authorities’ attention to the need to create an effective system to support families, having children with Down syndrome».

Ministry of Family Affairs, Demographic and Social Policy for the Kaluga region and Novosibirsk State Pedagogical University were awarded for their contribution to the development of state system of support for children with Down syndrome.

«Institute of Correctional Pedagogy of the Russian Academy of Sciences» was awarded for cooperation in the development of the scientific and methodological basis of early intervention programmes for children with Down syndrome.

Resource center of inclusive pre-school institution «Kindergarten for everybody» was awarded for contribution to the development of inclusive education for school-age children with Down syndrome. Channel One Russia and International News & Information Agency «Russia Today» with special project «Life without barriers», and publishing house «Arguments and Facts» were awarded for coverage of Down syndrome in mass media.

The prize-winners of the first Charity Award in support of children with Down syndrome are:

Sverdlovsk Regional Public Organization Supporting Children with Down Syndrome and Their Families «Sun children» for contribution to the development of regional support services for children with Down syndrome.

«Boeing Russiа», «PepsiCo», «ExonMobile Russia Inc», «Veles Capital Investment Company» for corporate contributions to support services for children with Down syndrome.

«Societe Generale International Financial Group» and corporate sport activities, «QIWI Group» and charity event «Pereverni mir», «Deloitte CIS» and adventure race «Extra Mile» for society involvement and corporate contribution to support services for children with Down syndrome.

Evelina Bledans for outstanding contribution to raising public awareness of Down syndrome.

Department of the State Automobile Inspectorate for Borovsky District of the Kaluga region for the provision of security services in Charity Bike Ride «Sport Vo Blago» for many years.

Alexander Derevshikov for his commitment to «Sport Vo Blago» project for children with Down syndrome.

«JamilCo Group of Companies», «Shell Russia», «HSBC Bank Russia» for support of Charity Bike Ride «Sport Vo Blago» for children with Down syndrome over the years.

The Boeing grant

We are pleased to announce The Boeing Company, GCC grant award aimed to provide educational support to the families in Russia raising children with Down syndrome of 3-6 years old having behavior and psychological difficulties, and families in difficult social situation. This is the fourth Boeing grant we operate to address the needs of a child and his or her family in the areas such as relationships between child and parents, child and teachers, and others. Children will attend educational group sessions separately from their parents and learn to act unaided by them. While children are at the session, parents attend a parent support group run by a psychologist. The project will last till June 2015.

(Photo: Boeing Team with Andrey Vostrikov, Special Olympic Games champion at CHARITY SPORTS Bike Ride)

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