SKillsUSA donates to group that helps parents of children with Down Syndrome

Posted 27 June 2018 at 9:57 am

Provided photo: Building Trades instructor Matt Anastasi, Matt Lasher (21_Connect’s founder and director) and SkillsUSA President Heaven Flood from Lyndonville.

Press Release, Orleans/Niagara BOCES

MEDINA – Every spring, the SkilllsUSA officer at the Orleans Career and Technical Education Center chooses an organization to raise money for.

Community service is an important component of SkillsUSA, and the student officers take their mission very seriously. They consider several organizations, do research on who and how the organization supports, and how SkillsUSA can help.

Ultimately, an organization called 21_Connect was chosen. This is a grass roots organization started by parents, to help parents with a child who has Down Syndrome. One of the senior officers, Elijah Sones, has a younger sister with Down Syndrome, and he discovered that his teacher, Building Trades instructor Matt Anastasi, has a daughter with Down Syndrome as well.

Mr. Anastasi encouraged Elijah to look into 21_Connect, which provides support and guidance to parents after their child has been born. Mr. Anastasi said this service would have been invaluable to him after his daughter was born, as both he and his wife were overwhelmed and unsure of how to best support their daughter.

Elijah and his fellow classmate and SkillsUSA officer, Malik Abdulghani, presented the organization to their fellow officers, and all agreed to that it would be a great cause to support. The officers designed and sold emblems for students to purchase and post in the school; the class with the highest donation would win an ice cream party. A goal of $500 was set; after three weeks, more than $700 was raised. The officers were thrilled with the outcome.

21_Connect’s founder and director Matt Lasher attended the senior breakfast held on June 7 to receive the donation. He was overwhelmed with the students’ generosity.

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