Olathe Resident to Receive National Advocacy Award

Contact: Jordana Stern, National Down Syndrome Society jstern@ndss.org/212-763-4362

Jawanda Barnett Mast will receive the National Down Syndrome Society’s NDSS DS-Ambassador of the Year Award at the annual Buddy Walk® on Washington.

The National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) is pleased to recognize Jawanda Barnett Mast of Olathe, Kansas with the NDSS DS-Ambassador of the Year Champion of Change Award. NDSS DS-Ambassadors are volunteer advocates committed to taking part in the democratic process and serve as liaisons between NDSS and their Congressional Delegations to continually raise awareness, educate and advocate for public policy solutions that benefit the Down syndrome community at the federal level. Ms. Mast will receive the award at the Buddy Walk® on Washington, the annual NDSS advocacy event in Washington, DC. Over 200 people from across the country will gather together to advocate for legislative priorities that positively impact that lives of people with Down syndrome and their families. The event also includes an award ceremony, at which Ms. Mast will receive her award.

Ms. Mast has been an advocate for people with Down syndrome and other disabilities since her daughter, Rachel, was born 13 years ago. In addition to her current position as NDSS DS-Ambassador in Kansas, formerly she was the Executive Director of the Down Syndrome Association of Memphis and the Mid-South. She is also a graduate of the TN Partners in Policymaking Institute and holds a Master of Science from The University of Arkansas.

Mast says“ I learned how to do advocacy as a rural 4-H member in White County, Arkansas. I want my daughter Rachel and the thousands of individuals with Down syndrome to be able to reach their full potential. I want them to realize their dreams. I want people with Down syndrome to live “real lives” and that’s why I work so hard to develop working relationships with our Kansas Senators and Representatives.”

Mr. Kosmalski will be recognized along with several other honorees at the Buddy Walk® on Washington, including Jawanda Barnett Mast, who will also receive the NDSS DS-Ambassador of the Year Award; Daniel Goodrow and Connor Long, Self-Advocate of the Year Award; Nikki Davis and Richard Peck, Advocate of the Year Award; Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute for Child Health & Human Development (NICHD), Organization of the Year Award and the Down Syndrome Association of Jacksonville (DSAJ), Buddy Walk® of the Year Award.

Award presenters include Congressman Ander Crenshaw (R-FL), Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Congressman Pete Sessions (R-TX), Congressman Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), NDSS Board members and staff.

About NDSS

The National Down Syndrome Society is a nonprofit organization representing the more than 400,000 Americans with Down syndrome. The mission of NDSS is to be the national advocate for the value, acceptance and inclusion of people with Down syndrome. NDSS envisions a world in which all people with Down syndrome have the opportunity enhance their quality of life, realize their life aspirations, and become valued members of welcoming community. NDSS has over 375 affiliates worldwide. To learn more, visit www.ndss.org.

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