By Melissa Silverman, self-advocate and CDSPG board member
LiveUp is a great weekend program for adults with Down syndrome. It is about 25 to 30 adults with DS paired with adults, called mentors. There are 5 programs: Washington, DC, Philadelphia, New York, Boston, and San Diego. Dr. Josh Stein and Ms. Jenna Aidikoff started LiveUp program for older adults with Down syndrome.
Labor Day weekend I attended Washington, DC LiveUp program with my friend Kelly Kaser, 31 with DS, from Indianapolis. We had lots of fun. My mentor Sarah taught me to live independent and to do things all by myself. We stayed at the National 4-H youth conference center. We started the weekend with icebreakers to learn each other names and go over the rules for the weekend. We did some cooking– that was so much fun and good. We made Da Vinci’s bruschetta, Greek yogurt ranch dip, and peanut butter banana wraps. Also we did karaoke, and acting with the members of Art Dream. Every year we do a volunteer project. This year we made dog toys and gave them to the SPCA.
Offsite we went to visits Mt. Vernon when George Washington lived. The history was so interesting. Then we took a water taxi to the National Harbor. This is the first year we attended a food festival at a local church. We had breakfast at the 4-H center or on the bus. We also went to the National Mall and we had a picnic lunch. We had a dinner/dance at Fire Station One. Everyone got dressed up for the dance. Sometimes we did morning wellness to move our bodies in shape. On the last day of LiveUp we packed up and prepared our speeches for the closing ceremonies. The parents came to pick us up to go home. We have wonderful hardworking directors Dan Rodini, Rich DiGiambattista and Emily Weinberger. They provided a nurse on site to take care of meds for the weekend too.