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Charity Fund «Downside Up» held a traditional charity Bicycle Race

The end of this summer charity season «Sport for a cause» -2017 was marked by two cycling events: «Velosotnia» on August 26 and «Bicycle Race» on August 27. During this year all companies, who took part in «Velosotnia» raised more than 17 million rubles for charitable programs to help children with Down syndrome and their families.

Several corporate teams took part in «Velosotnia» in the vast territories of Kaluga oblast this year. 11 amateur teams also supported the cycling event. Teams got over 110-kilometers of routes during the race and received unforgettable impressions.

Together with young cyclists from «The Center for family support of «Downside Up» their parents and young people with Down syndrome also conquered the roads, among them: Andrey Vostrikov — multiple world champion in gymnastics among people with specific mental characteristics, winner of more than 70 medals and Stepan Bezrukov — swimmer, who already has over 20 medals.

At the finish, the convoy was greeted by the most devoted fans — young wards of «The Center for family support of «Downside Up». They welcomed the participants by touching response ride on children's bicycles. Families and friends came to support the young cyclists.

Children with Down syndrome have got acquainted with the work of the Fire Service

Children with Down syndrome visited Fire Station No. 4 in Moscow. The guys and their parents were shown the firefighters on duty, where they live while on standby duty, how they receive fire-alarm calls and what tools and equipment they have.

Young visitors also were told how to put out a fire properly and how to behave upon detection of fire. The biggest excitement and emotions were from a photo session in a real fire truck and splashing around under water jet spray on a hot summer day.

Teens with Ddown syndrome participated in «Volunteer day»

Children in ward of «Downside Up» charity fund participated in «Volunteer day» under the auspices of companon animals`s nutrition Center located in Moscow satellite town Lukovicy. All cynologists, vets and office staff of the Center welcomed «sunny» volunteers.

Founded in 2009 in Lukovicy the Center today is a home for little under one hundred different breeds of dogs, such as tiny chihuahua, central asian ovcharka, poodles, spitz and others, popular among dog fanciers. Dogs of small breeds live in a modern one-floor building with offices, for staff only rooms, and a big hall cabined off for multiple «appartments».

«For hundreds of thousands years people live under the same roof with companion animals. They make our world a more harmonious place to live in, and people need that cohesion» - welcomed guests acting director of the Center Tatyana Belyavskaya.

Two by two under the guidence of experienced personel children were off to water dogs and cleaning. The most experienced volunteers had to scrub and flea dogs in special hairdressing room.

The day finished with exchanging of gifts. Nadezhda Yakovleva, the lead specialist of «Downside Up» charity fund, presented staff of the Center with desk loose-leaf calendars pictured with drawings of «sunny» kids. Tatyana Belyavskaya in return presented children with merit badges of Cynoligists Assistent.

Downside Up has grown an orange grove for the children with Down syndrome

«Downside Up» charity fund has recently had promotional program «To give the orange». Our activity was coincided with March 21, World Down syndrome day. We pursued the purpose to draw attention to mentally challenged people and raise funds for supporting people with Down syndrome. We chose an orange as our simbol because of it`s resembling to sun. As you may know people with Down syndrome are often called «sunshiny».

It was easy to take part in our promotional program. All it took was internet. Everyone could visit our web-site, choose one of the fruits from the large tree and make a donation, making the fruit grow. After two weeks 1101 oranges were grown and 1240377 rubles were raised for «sunshine kids».

Money we`ve raised together will be spent for speech therapists, teachers and other necessities for «sunshiny kids» including special social programs development.

Our fund also provides psychological, pedagogical and social services for mentally challenged children and their families. We have helped to more than 7000 mentally challenged children and trained 16000 social and medical workers since 1997.

The theatre workshop Downside Up presented a new performance «Alice's dream»

On March, 21 the World Down Syndrome Day was observed across the globe. Following a recent but already heartwarming tradition the theatre workshop acting under the auspices of the Downside Up charitable foundation has staged a new performance styled as a shadow show to mark this day. The performance is called «Alice's dream» and is based on Lewis Carroll's well-known book «Alice in Wonderland».

Preceding the show, Ms. Anna Portugalova, director of the Downside Up charitable foundation, greeted everyone with a speech: «All our girls and boys, members of the theatre workshop, have been preparing for this day for a long time, rehearsing and doing their best. We see how they unfold and shape their talents in the course of the theatre classes, and we are delighted with them».

The preparation works for new performance have been launched last оctober. «There are nearly thirty acts in the performance, and these imply numerous scenes, positions and movements, - the theatre director Nicholai Ilnitzkiy says. - We have assembled all parts of the performance together only for the final rehearsal which took place yesterday. Before we had to master the stuff through trainings aimed at developing attention, imagination, emotional and physical activity memory».

«Alice's dream» is another exact coincidence with the spectators and actors emotional mood, with deliberate entwinement of conceptual emphasis and symbols. This allows the director to say: «We staged the performance upon Carroll's work but about our stuff». It's true, there is more than enough of «own» stuff in Carroll's fairytale in sync with the problems of integrating special people into everyday life.

«Magic», «wonder» or, as Alice herself put it in Carroll's fairytale, «curiouser and curiouser» - such words could be used to describe the impression of the first night. Both the fragile, appealing shape of Alice and the disappearing smile of the Cheshire Cat as well as the extraordinary expressive plasticity of the Hatter, and the «Tea Parties» performed by the «sunny» actors at the fabulous professional mastery level - all of this made a deep long lasting impression on the spectators.

If there is anything one could regret after such a magnificent show the only thing would probably be that it ended up so quickly.

Moscow hosts an annual charity race «Sport for a cause»

The 15th annual charity ski race «Sport for a cause» was held in Moscow, traditionally hosted by the Charity Fund «Downside up». More than 640 participants of the race toe, the starting line. Among them were 10 Paralympic athletes and more than 50 children (children under the age of 5 years skied a distance of 500 m). The youngest skier was 3 years old, and the oldest was 79 years. 1 474 988 rubles raised by common efforts for payment for consultations of the specialists who work with children with Down Syndrome from 3 to 7 years old and for the educational activities.

Younger participants skied 500 meters, older ones skied — 1, 3 and 5 kilometers. The Paralympic athletes, led by six-time Paralympic champion Sergey Shilov skied 5 km. The toughest adults fought for prizes in 10 and 15 km races. Every skier received a commemorative medal at the finish.

Corporate teams competed in the relay and steeplechase without skis. All participants enjoyed quick registration, warm locker rooms, and luggage storage. In addition to games such as «Metloball» were tasty oatmeal, hot tea, a special «sport» mulled wine, a raffle with expensive prizes from various sponsors and entertainment for the young audience.

Downside Up сompletes its fundraiser «The Further You Go»

Downside Up has completed its on-line fundraiser, «The Further You Go», where participants were given the chance to play Santa Claus on the cusp of the holiday. These generous individuals worked their magic by giving the fund’s children gifts and skills, which they will certainly need later in life. During the fundraiser, donors picked out a virtual Christmas tree and ornament with a gift for a child and then paid for it.

«The further you go, the more goodwill you'll find». They were certain of this at the fund, and they were right! 627 donors took part in the initiative and helped raise 607,960 rubles. Each participant hung an ornament with a child’s wish on the tree, and this forest of magical Christmas trees grew and grew! This miracle was possible because hundreds of people came together to change the future for children with Down syndrome. It’s so important – to speak so that people understand you, to learn to befriend others, to find common ground with adults, to be able to read to enter the first grade.

«The Further You Go» fundraiser received the Golden Cat award from the Russian Fundraiser Association for «best on-line fundraiser».

Downside Up took part in the round table discussions on the occasion of world down syndrome day

Charitable Fund “Downside Up” took part in the special event dedicated to World Down Syndrome Day and organized by inclusive theater project “Interaction” in cooperation with New Space Theater of Nations.

Downside Up’s pupils participated in inclusive training for actors led by Boris Pavlovich, art director of socially educative department of Tovstonogov State Academic Bolshoi Drama Theater of Russia. A round table “Interaction Between a Painter and a Disabled Person” was held in the evening. Participants discussed the following questions: what do we mean by inclusion in the arts and how can it help our society to learn to recognize other people? Can this kind of special theater catch the interest of a viewer, not related to the “problem”? What can help this social project to become commercially viable, and special artists to get paid?

Nikolay Ilnitskiy, director at Downside Up’s Drama Studio was the speaker of this round table and shared how shadow play help children with Down syndrome to express their feelings, to increase their self-esteem and confidence and to socialize.

Downside Up turn 19!

We’ve spent the past 19 years with you – our friends, supporters, and families. We would like to extend our heartfelt congratulations and say thank you to you for being around and helping our little kids. A lot has changed and much has been achieved over the past years.

Early assistance programmes by Downside Up are being put in place and enhanced, helping every year to improve lives of thousands of children with Down syndrome and their families. Beginning this year (for the first time in the history of the Foundation), we are taking care of graduates as well. Children who were supported by our specialists in the early years, have come back to us as schoolchildren and teenagers. So we had to address new challenges – how to provide psychological assistance to children and their parents, open new self-fulfilment opportunities, and offer career guidance for boys and girls with Down syndrome.

Downside Up set up a drama group and organised a summer recreation programme. The Foundation supported the opening of sports clubs for people with Down syndrome all across Russia. The educational activities of Downside Up were officially licensed by the Moscow Education Department, so we can now share our experience more effectively.

Our education campaigns were especially impactful. They included, among many others, an exhibition in GUM (famous department store of Red Square), a high-profile campaign in the VKontakte social network aimed at calling Down syndrome by its right name, and a career guidance project for teenagers. The latter won a prize at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival.

We will continue developing in all those areas. Our efforts will demonstrate that opportunities of children with Down syndrome can be limitless.

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.

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