by Kristin Buehner from Globe Gazette.com:
People with a heart for their friends and family members with Down syndrome put on their dancing shoes Saturday and headed for the Surf Ballroom to help raise money for a good cause.
The third annual Dancing For Down’s brought in an estimated 300 people from the Waterloo-Cedar Falls and Mason City-Clear Lake areas.
“It’s a great way to raise funds for the work our group does and to raise awareness of the cause,” said Jake Byers of Waterloo, president of the local board of Designer Genes Down Syndrome.
Byers, who stood holding his 5-year-old daughter Hannah, said, “We want to raise awareness that people with Down syndrome are a blessing in our lives.”
In addition to a rock ’n’ roll dance with a disc jockey, a large silent auction and raffle were planned to help raise money for the group’s work, which includes helping new parents of children with Down syndrome and working with schools to advance the cause of inclusion in the classroom.
The Designer Genes group also sponsors activities such as Fun Days, Movie Days and Swimming Days for people with Down syndrome and gives scholarships for people to attend special camps and educational conferences, Byers said.
Dixie and Keith Stiles of Mason City were among the crowd attending the event with their granddaughter, Emma Stiles, who has Down syndrome.
Like many of the children attending, Emma had dressed up in a red dress and shoes for the big night, her grandparents said.
“It’s just so awesome that they do something like this,” Dixie Stiles said. “It’s good for the kids. It’s like a party for them.”
Keith Stiles agreed.
“I think more than the kids have fun,” he said with a grin. “It’s a nice venue, too.”