Down Syndrome Awareness Storytimes Touch Hundreds of Communities
Throughout February 2007, approximately 500 Barnes & Noble stores across the country hosted Storytimes to help promote literacy and raise awareness of Down syndrome. The events featured a reading of the popular book We’ll Paint the Octopus Red, and the thoughts of Melissa Riggio from her National Geographic Kids article, “I Have Down Syndrome” (January 2007), and her songs “Love is a Potion” and “The Ring” co written with accomplished songwriter Rachel Fuller. (Pete Townshend of The Who co produced “The Ring.”) Both songs are available for free download at www.Riggio.net. Melissa is the 18-year-old daughter of Barnes & Noble’s CEO Steve Riggio.
Community Relations Managers throughout the company drove the success of these heart-warming events via strategic partnerships with local Down syndrome societies and groups, schools, musicians, entertainers and authors, and community leaders whose children have Down syndrome.
“Our goal was to help teach children and adults that individuals with Down syndrome are more like everyone else than they are different,” says Sarah DiFrancesco, Director, Community Relations. “And thanks to the efforts of everyone in our stores and in our communities we achieved that goal. The events were such a success that we plan on sponsoring them again next year.”
The Barnes & Noble “I Have Down Syndrome” events touched lives and gained the attention of both local and national print and TV news, including The USA Today and Good Morning America on ABC.
Photos: (Top Left) Melissa Riggio and Rachel Fuller sign autographs for fans at the Lincoln Triangle store in New York City. (Middle Right) Steve Riggio, Melissa Riggio, Rachel Fuller and Sesame Street's Bob McGrath during the special Down syndrome awareness Storytime in Manhattan.
View below some special moments from the Down syndrome awareness Storytimes throughout the company.
A Down syndrome dance troupe performed as pirates at our Las Cruces, NM, store.
A clown entertains at a Down syndrome event in our Saratoga Springs, NY, store.
Students from the Cheshire Home square dance at our Gulfport, MS, store.
Reading of The Great Goat Chase in our Manchester, NH, store.