Down Syndrome of South Central Kentucky will see a vision become reality with the opening of its Buddy House for Down Syndrome.
”Five years ago, it was just a dream. It’s like it developed so quickly and came together. We can’t believe we’re starting out with such an incredible facility. The community donated money, time and resources,” said house director Jane Tichenor. “On our own, we couldn’t have done it. We had people who don’t have Down syndrome and just wanted to help. I am humbled and speechless at the generosity of people.”
An open house will be from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday at 522 State St., with an official ribbon-cutting at 4 p.m. The BG Rockerz will perform during the ribbon-cutting. Official Buddy House T-shirts, including special shirts for infants and toddlers, will be sold for $10.
The date of the open house has significance – Thursday is World Down Syndrome Day, observed every March 21 to symbolize a third copy of the 21st chromosome in people with the genetic condition.
The house will have education and activities for infants, children and adults with Down syndrome and their families, as well as parents who have learned their child will have the genetic condition before birth.
”We want to reach out to people who just received a diagnosis, or gave birth to a child with Down syndrome. We have a welcome area where they can feel comfortable,” Tichenor said. “It’s a place where we can actually help our children, infants and adults, to support them in education and supplement what they learn in school to help them be more successful in life.”
The 3,000-square-foot building will house a Western Kentucky University-themed Big Red Room that will feature computers to help continue adult literacy and math and a Big Bright Room for school-aged children to help them develop speech, adaptive play and gross motor skills. There will be a lending library, meeting room, a kitchen to teach independent living skill and space for the BG Rockerz and ADAM group for younger children to dance.
”They learn so much. It even helps their speech,” Tichenor said. “They’re following directions and learning to have body control and balance.”
Because of its downtown location, Tichenor is “excited for opportunities of being out in the community.”
”We want everyone to know this will be a place to come gather and grow together and want to see all our loved ones with Down syndrome be all they can be and reach their full potential,” she said. “The more I meet these wonderful people, the more I love them.”