News at Princeton

Monday, July 28, 2014

Multimedia: Student

Video: Breaking Down Barriers


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Student volunteers ran workshops and a carnival for families with children with Down syndrome during the 2008 Princeton Disability Awareness Conference.


Video Closed Captions

Jenni Newbury:
I'm Jenni Newbury.

Connor Diemand-Yauman:
I'm Conner Diemand-Yauman.

Jenni Newbury:
And we are the co-presidents and

Jenni Newbury:
co-founders of Princeton Disability Awareness.

Jenni Newbury:
The name of the second annual Down syndrome conference is

Jenni Newbury:
"Breaking Down Barriers," and the conference has two separate parts.

Jenni Newbury:
The first part is exclusively for parents.

Jenni Newbury:
For the parents we have workshops,

Jenni Newbury:
exhibitors and prominent speakers from the Down syndrome community,

Jenni Newbury:
and we have over 500 attendees.

Connor Diemand-Yauman:
The second part of the conference is probably our favorite part.

Connor Diemand-Yauman:
It involves all of the children with Down syndrome and their

Connor Diemand-Yauman:
siblings, and them being matched one-to-one with a Princeton

Connor Diemand-Yauman:
volunteer. Throughout the day,

Connor Diemand-Yauman:
they're going to be in the Fields Center in an indoor carnival,

Connor Diemand-Yauman:
interacting with their big brother and big sister for the day.

Jenni Newbury:
My main inspiration for this conference is my younger brother Jason.

Jenni Newbury:
He has Down syndrome and I have been an advocate for him my whole life.

Jenni Newbury:
And, so I can really understand the

Jenni Newbury:
appreciation that parents and families have for a conference like this.

Jenni Newbury:
This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for parents to go to the

Jenni Newbury:
most prominent university in the country,

Jenni Newbury:
hear speakers from all over the area,

Jenni Newbury:
and be able to relax and enjoy the opportunity,

Jenni Newbury:
knowing that their children are well taken care of by Princeton

Jenni Newbury:
students, who, one-on-one,

Jenni Newbury:
are devoting and donating their time to spend a day with their

Jenni Newbury:
child. And this is something that is just

Jenni Newbury:
very, very incredible. We have parents talk to us all the

Jenni Newbury:
time and say that there's nothing like this.

Connor Diemand-Yauman:
Because they know that this is

Connor Diemand-Yauman:
something that's very important to Princeton students.

Connor Diemand-Yauman:
That's all it needs; that's all the administration needs

Connor Diemand-Yauman:
to throw their support behind an event like this.

Jenni Newbury:
Every department is really playing

Jenni Newbury:
their part. We have a professor from the

Jenni Newbury:
psychology department, a professor from the molecular

Jenni Newbury:
biology department. We have building services donate their

Jenni Newbury:
efforts. Dining services has been phenomenal

Jenni Newbury:
in donating things to us. It's just a way for the campus,

Jenni Newbury:
as a community, to really come together.

Jenni Newbury:
We're sponsored this year by Projects Board,

Jenni Newbury:
the Pace Center, Class of 2010.

Jenni Newbury:
VP Dickerson has just been so amazing to us.

Jenni Newbury:
We're just so grateful the way the Princeton community is really coming together.

Jenni Newbury:
I think the greatest evidence of the impact that this event has can be seen in the faces of all of the

Jenni Newbury:
children who attend the carnival. Just walking through the carnival,

Jenni Newbury:
you can see the joy, the excitement and the

Jenni Newbury:
phenomenal experience that these children are really having that day.

Connor Diemand-Yauman:
And on the same note,

Connor Diemand-Yauman:
it's wonderful to see the 250-plus Princeton volunteers and how excited

Connor Diemand-Yauman:
they get waiting for their kid. They have no idea what's in store

Connor Diemand-Yauman:
for them for the day. A lot of them have never

Connor Diemand-Yauman:
volunteered with kids with Down syndrome before,

Connor Diemand-Yauman:
and they have no idea what to expect, but they are so excited.

Connor Diemand-Yauman:
And then seeing that dynamic between the volunteer and the child

Connor Diemand-Yauman:
throughout the day -- and seeing how it grows.

Connor Diemand-Yauman:
And then, by the end of the conference, the

Connor Diemand-Yauman:
student volunteer, the child, their siblings and their parents can all sit down and enjoy a

Connor Diemand-Yauman:
meal together. I mean, that's something that...

Connor Diemand-Yauman:
that's not an experience you can get every day.

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