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Votes can win van for Down syndrome homes

Tania Laterea, left, a resident of an Association

Tania Laterea, left, a resident of an Association for Children with Down Syndrome (ACDS) group home, sits in a daycare class Thursday. (June 30, 2011) Credit: Frank Posillico

Tania Laterea may soon get her nails done on a more regular basis.

Laterea, a teacher’s assistant, has Down syndrome and lives at an Association for Children with Down Syndrome home in Plainview. Next Thursday ACDS has a chance to win a van from Toyota’s 100 Cars for Good program, which started May 9.

Each day through Aug. 16, five charities of similar size compete in a one-day Facebook vote, with the top vote-getter winning a vehicle.

ACDS, which was founded in 1966 and is based in Plainview, houses 49 adults with Down syndrome at seven residential group homes and one apartment on Long Island. Their services also include an early intervention preschool, special education services and adult camps.

ACDS will choose a Toyota Sienna van if it wins. Right now each home only has one vehicle, and they have been working to add additional vans.

“It really fosters more independence and more choice on the part of the people who live in the homes,” ACDS executive director Michael Smith said of the opportunity to win the van. “If the young ladies want to go get their fingernails done and the guys who live in the house want to go bowling that afternoon, we have two vehicles so that everybody doesn't have to go to the same place.”

ACDS’ competition includes United Tribes Technical College (North Dakota), Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona, Reconcile New Orleans Inc. and Otter Tail Wadena Community Action Council (Minnesota). Those interested can vote at www.facebook.com/toyota, and can view ACDS’ entry video here.

Above, Tania Laterea, left, a resident of an Association for Children with Down Syndrome group home, sits in a daycare class Thursday.

 

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