Down Syndrome Day puts socks in the spotlight

Supporters of World Down Syndrome Day on Monday are encouraging people to wear wild socks during the awareness campaign.
Supporters of World Down Syndrome Day on Monday are encouraging
people to wear wild socks during the awareness campaign.

The Special Needs Foundation is asking members of the public to rock their coolest socks on March 21, World Down Syndrome Day.

Posting “sock selfies” is also encouraged on the Cayman Islands World Down Syndrome Day Facebook page, with the hashtag #RYSCAYMAN.

“We’re asking businesses to allow their staffs to wear crazy socks as a simple way to show their support for World Down Syndrome Day for our Down syndrome community here in Cayman,” said Leslie Metcalf, deputy chair of the Down Syndrome Committee for the Special Needs Foundation.

Ms. Metcalf said schools will also be involved in observing the day with a lesson plan from the Special Needs Foundation that explains Down syndrome and the importance of empathy for all children with special needs. The lessons will be taught through art projects, team activities and science projects.

“Character-building is so important to every school, and one of our national learning standards is learning to empathize with people who are different,” Ms. Metcalf said.

She said the plan is for schools to have the lessons in the week leading up to Down Syndrome Day and then to encourage the students to wear mismatched or patterned socks on March 21.

“It’s a very simple way for them to do something a little different than the normal dress-down day, and we didn’t ask for any fundraising from the schools, we just strictly want to promote awareness and empathy,” Ms. Metcalf said.

The Special Needs Foundation will be seeking donations from businesses and the public. Ms. Metcalf said the foundation hopes to raise $25,000 with this awareness campaign to support the Special Needs Foundation. The foundation assists families to receive therapy and cover related expenses for those with special needs.

“The money is well spent,” Ms. Metcalf said. “It is just so appreciated because families with special needs are constantly doing more, spending more than the average person, and it’s not a choice, so it’s just really appreciated when you get even just a little break.”

For those interested, socks are available from the Cayman Sock Company, which is partnering with the foundation. The online sock company will donate $5 for every pair of socks sold in support of World Down Syndrome Day.

“They have socks for kids, men women and they deliver free of charge in George Town and are very reasonably priced,” Ms. Metcalf said.

To make a donation to the Special Needs Foundation for World Down Syndrome Day, money may be deposited in the Special Needs Foundation of Cayman Ltd. account at Cayman National Bank. The account number is 01112050.