Down Syndrome SA is set to host its fourth annual ‘A Night to Remember’ Gala Ball in 2018. The ball gives young people living with Down syndrome and other intellectual disabilities, an opportunity to experience the red-carpet treatment with a three-course meal, live band ‘The Cast’ and a photo booth to capture the momentous event.
Your $75 impact will directly help by sponsoring a guest with an intellectual disability attend the ball. In 2017, 53 people were sponsored to attend the ball, but we are aiming to have 150 sponsored in 2018!
The Gala Ball plays a crucial role in reducing barriers to attend social events that help young people gain confidence, increase mental and physical wellbeing, strengthening friendships and building bridges in the community.
Many young individuals living with disability miss their high school formals and other formal events due to social and financial barriers. The Gala Ball addresses the wider need for community engagement young people to build confidence, self-esteem and to feel a sense of belonging within our community.
In 2017, 168 people with disabilities attended the ball and truly had a 'Night to Remember'. The only way to keep this an annual event is through sponsorship.
Down Syndrome SA has an extensive leisure and recreation program including weekly dance classes, bowling, getaways, camps and a monthly rock n roll disco attracting over 200 people with disabilities. These regular events highlight the huge demand for appropriate social experiences for teenagers and adults with intellectual disabilities.
In the past Down Syndrome SA held corporate gala balls with the main fundraising goal to support the organisations’ programs. CEO Maureen Lawlor and events coordinator Jade Erlandsen decided to flip this event on its head in 2015, creating a Gala Ball for the people it supports. “People with Down syndrome are central to everything we do, and this event would reflect our person-centred philosophy. Establishing a Gala Ball specifically for people with intellectual disabilities with all the additional support it requires, we are fulfilling our vision to create an inclusive South Australia where every individual with Down syndrome is given an equal chance to learn, grow and thrive.” said Jade
The idea was to still engage the corporate and philanthropic sector by having them ‘sponsor’ a person with a disability to attend the ball in their place. This way, supporters can pay $75 to NOT attend the ball, but instead a person with an intellectual disability will have ‘A Night to Remember’ with their friends. The generosity of sponsors and fundraising undertaken by Down Syndrome SA means that young people living with disabilities may attend the gala ball for just $10 per ticket; a welcome relief for families. The difference in cost is partially covered by event sponsors Agri-Bits and Foundation 21, and the remaining costs are absorbed by Down Syndrome SA. A crowd-funding campaign has been set up to make it easier for companies and individuals to contribute a tax-deductible donation and ‘sponsor’ a person to attend the ball.
RESPONSE FROM PREVIOUS GALA BALLS:
The response from families from the two previous Gala Balls has been incredible with almost 300 people experiencing the red-carpet treatment.
Travis's dad never expected to hand down the cuff links he wore at his wedding to his son with Down syndrome. In 2015, Travis wore his dad's cuff links, now a family heirloom, to the 'Night to Remember' Gala Ball
Sarah's mum handmade a beautiful dress for Sarah to wear on a special occasion before she passed away. In 2015, Sarah wore this dress at the 'Night to Remember' Gala Ball.
The magnitude of this annual event and the long lasting effects on the guests are clear.
“I’ve haven’t seen my brother this happy before, thank you”.
“I’ve never seen so many smiling faces in one room!”
“The BEST night”
The positive powers of friendship and socialisation are an important right for every person in our community, and the Down Syndrome SA Gala Ball reinforces how crucial these events are.