World Down Syndrome Day came and went on March 21st, but you can still help people with intellectual diversities, says Anna Brindley, wife of Lake Highlands High School soccer coach Hanes Brindley. The couple are parents of Anna Catherine, a bright and beautiful daughter living with Down Syndrome, and Anna has launched an effort to help adults with the disorder.
Anna has created a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter to raise funds for a business she started which produces t-shirts, jewelry and other items featuring her Xtra Love logo. Xtra Love is a nod to the extra chromosome which causes Down Syndrome, and the Xtra Love logo was designed by Anna Catherine’s godmother. Funds raised will be used to employ intellectually diverse workers in the business, and donors will receive items created – t-shirts and jewelry with the logo.
Anna has been amazed and gratified at the response – she exceeded her $2,500 goal in just the first 12 hours.
“In hindsight, we know that was too low,” admits Anna, “but it allowed me to hire someone for at least a week to help get the orders out. We stretched the goal to $5,000 and raised that in just over 24 hours.”
The response, she says, proves she is on the right track.
“Kickstarter is a great tool to see if the market responds and is a great place to get feedback, so we wanted to start there.”
For now, items shown are rewards for giving, but with time, they will move to the online store and be replaced by new incentive items. And, hopefully, new employees will be added.
“It is clear that people are behind our mission,” says Anna, “to create jobs for the intellectually diverse. We have started extremely small and there is a ton of work to do but Hanes and I are committed to figuring this out. We are inspired by a few area businesses that are doing this. It turns out over 240,000 adults with special needs want to work but need more options.”