Breakfast with Santa provides creative opportunity for networking

1 year 2 weeks 2 days ago Saturday, December 02 2017 Dec 2, 2017 Saturday, December 02, 2017 10:20:00 PM CST December 02, 2017 in News
By: Brianna Stubler, KOMU 8 Reporter

COLUMBIA - A networking event for children and families affected by Down syndrome connected people across Mid-Missouri this morning.

The Mizzou Down Syndrome Advocates (MDSA), a student organization founded by members in Mizzou’s Beta Theta Pi fraternity, reached out to the Central Missouri Down Syndrome Family Network, a local organization founded by three mothers in Columbia. Together, they coordinated Breakfast with Santa.

Davis Hurth, a member of both Beta Theta Pi and MDSA, said the student organization was created last spring because they noticed Mizzou did not have any groups specifically for those affected by Down syndrome. Hurth said he and several of his fraternity brothers have close friends with Down syndrome, which inspired them to create MDSA in hopes of raising awareness and helping those with the disorder.

Kate Basi, one of the three founders of the Central Missouri Down Syndrome Family Network, said their community organization stemmed from a need to connect families in the area who had kids with Down syndrome. She discovered MDSA when Davis reached out via Facebook.

The two groups began sharing ideas, and the Breakfast with Santa was organized fairly quickly, Basi said. MDSA is able to provide the necessary volunteers that the family network needs to coordinate events, and Basi said MDSA did a wonderful job.

Andrea Elsbury, the mother of a four-year-old with Down syndrome, agrees.

“I think it's extremely important to bring the Down syndrome families together to network,” Elsbury said. “We're able to get advice and outlooks as far as what it's like to raise a child with Down syndrome.”

There are children and adults ranging in age who come from various cities throughout Central Missouri, and the breakfast today welcomed a few new faces into the network.

“I know there's a lot more families in the Central-Missouri area who are affected that I think would really benefit from connecting with others,” Elsbury said.

“That's why we started the group at Mizzou and held this event - to connect as many families as possible,” Hurth said. Increased community connection is what members like Hurth work towards.

“We want to bring families from all over, like those in rural areas who may not know about the family network but have a child with down syndrome and feel a little lost or don't know what to do, and introduce them to others so they can see they're part of a bigger community,” Hurth said.

The family network is an offshoot of the larger organizations in Kansas City and St. Louis, which provide resources including educational conferences and parenting tips specific to raising a child with Down syndrome.

However, Basi said the Mid-Missouri division is emphasizing family support.

“By and large, the Missouri Down Syndrome Family Network is there to facilitate connections,” Basi said.

Since this group is smaller and newer than those in Kansas City and St. Louis, Elsbury offers her experience. She was a member in Kansas City, and after moving to Columbia, got involved here.

“When I moved to Columbia that was my goal - to bring my experience from the network in Kansas City so everyone could have the same opportunities I did there with all the events and families that were involved,” Elsbury said.

Connecting with others has positively affected her parenting. Elsbury said that sometimes children with Down syndrome have other medical issues, so it’s helpful to be able to talk to other parents about that aspect to make sure there aren’t other underlying health concerns. The older children and their parents who have more experience with doctors can give advice about different routes to take medically, she said.

“Ultimately, we just want to know we're providing the best care for our kids, so it's nice to have that input from other parents,” Elsbury said.

In addition to allowing parents to network, the children have a chance to meet and play with others with Down syndrome.

“When they're smaller it's more about the parents, but when the kids get older then they start to have friends,” Basi said. “And that's a really important thing in a special needs family.”

Hurth was the first, but not the last, to share genuine stories about his enjoyment spending time with children who have disabilities.

“When you look past the disability physically and get to know the person or child for who they are, it’s really special to make that connection,” Hurth said. He emphasized that these children are just like any other and deserve to have the same fun and the same opportunities.

These ideas are the foundation of MDSA.

“We try to reach out to as many students as we can because there are so many people who have been affected by Down syndrome, whether it's a family member or a friend,” Hurth said. “We want to make the family network as large as we can, and also get people at Mizzou aware about people with disabilities.”

Elsbury said she wants these children to feel included and be recognized for their abilities. 

“They need to know that they're not different from anyone else; they all have their separate personalities and range from more or less independent, just like any other child can be,” Elsbury said. “They really are a pure joy to be around and a blessing to have in our lives. Everyone should experience hanging out with someone like that.”

Both groups agree this is only the start of their collaborative efforts, and are working on plans for future events.

“Today is a symbol of the beginning of this partnership,” Basi said. “I have really high hopes that we can have more outreach to the community, and it's not so much education as it is to help the larger community realize that there's nothing to be afraid of.”

 

More News

Grid
List
NEW BLOOMFIELD - The Holts Summit Police Department will include New Bloomfield in its coverage area again in 2019. ... More >>
5 hours ago Tuesday, December 18 2018 Dec 18, 2018 Tuesday, December 18, 2018 10:31:00 PM CST December 18, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Bird scooter injuries are a growing problem in Columbia, with those who get hurt on the scooters left... More >>
8 hours ago Tuesday, December 18 2018 Dec 18, 2018 Tuesday, December 18, 2018 7:25:00 PM CST December 18, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - December is filled with festivities, but an emergency trip to the veterinarian can spoil all the holiday cheer.... More >>
9 hours ago Tuesday, December 18 2018 Dec 18, 2018 Tuesday, December 18, 2018 7:02:00 PM CST December 18, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - A year and a half ago, Rhonda Watson found herself at a crossroad: Go to prison or go... More >>
9 hours ago Tuesday, December 18 2018 Dec 18, 2018 Tuesday, December 18, 2018 6:56:00 PM CST December 18, 2018 in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — A 24-year-old Missouri man was sentenced to 25 years in prison without parole for participating in... More >>
10 hours ago Tuesday, December 18 2018 Dec 18, 2018 Tuesday, December 18, 2018 6:12:06 PM CST December 18, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - This week Hitachi announced a takeover of ABB, worth a purchase price of $11 billion. It's... More >>
11 hours ago Tuesday, December 18 2018 Dec 18, 2018 Tuesday, December 18, 2018 4:53:00 PM CST December 18, 2018 in News
ST.LOUIS - Missouri salt supply usage is at a high since early snowfall hit the midwest in November. In... More >>
12 hours ago Tuesday, December 18 2018 Dec 18, 2018 Tuesday, December 18, 2018 3:30:00 PM CST December 18, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Retired employees of the Columbia Electric Utilities are frustrated with the city for its lack of action in... More >>
12 hours ago Tuesday, December 18 2018 Dec 18, 2018 Tuesday, December 18, 2018 3:18:00 PM CST December 18, 2018 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Supporters of criminal justice reform are questioning a move by assistant prosecutors in St. Louis County... More >>
13 hours ago Tuesday, December 18 2018 Dec 18, 2018 Tuesday, December 18, 2018 2:40:58 PM CST December 18, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri Public Service Commission held the first of two formal hearings to determine whether an interstate... More >>
14 hours ago Tuesday, December 18 2018 Dec 18, 2018 Tuesday, December 18, 2018 1:34:00 PM CST December 18, 2018 in News
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration moved Tuesday to officially ban bump stocks, which allow semi-automatic weapons to fire rapidly... More >>
15 hours ago Tuesday, December 18 2018 Dec 18, 2018 Tuesday, December 18, 2018 12:28:00 PM CST December 18, 2018 in News
BOWLING GREEN - Charles Erickson, who is serving time in prison for the 2001 murder of Columbia Daily Tribune sports... More >>
17 hours ago Tuesday, December 18 2018 Dec 18, 2018 Tuesday, December 18, 2018 10:16:29 AM CST December 18, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - A man awaiting sentencing for attacking his grandparents filed a motion Friday, seeking acquittal on one of the... More >>
19 hours ago Tuesday, December 18 2018 Dec 18, 2018 Tuesday, December 18, 2018 9:05:36 AM CST December 18, 2018 in News
CALIFORNIA - A Fortuna man pleaded guilty Friday to charges related to the 2017 death of his young son. ... More >>
19 hours ago Tuesday, December 18 2018 Dec 18, 2018 Tuesday, December 18, 2018 8:55:00 AM CST December 18, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri Public Service Commission held a hearing on the Grain Belt Express on Tuesday. In... More >>
22 hours ago Tuesday, December 18 2018 Dec 18, 2018 Tuesday, December 18, 2018 5:34:00 AM CST December 18, 2018 in News
PETTIS COUNTY - Tom Belsha has lived on Crestview Drive for twenty years. He has been questioning the quality of... More >>
1 day ago Monday, December 17 2018 Dec 17, 2018 Monday, December 17, 2018 8:39:00 PM CST December 17, 2018 in Top Stories
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A Missouri woman who told police she intentionally drove into the Kansas River while trying to... More >>
1 day ago Monday, December 17 2018 Dec 17, 2018 Monday, December 17, 2018 6:34:00 PM CST December 17, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA- Denico Crawley, the man convicted of murder stemming from the case of Quenten Hurt, was sentenced to 105 years... More >>
1 day ago Monday, December 17 2018 Dec 17, 2018 Monday, December 17, 2018 6:06:00 PM CST December 17, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 39°
5am 39°
6am 39°
7am 38°
8am 39°