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Highlights from 2015 Cinderella Ball

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About Friends of Down Syndrome


Friends of Down Syndrome is a nonprofit organization that serves teens and adults with Down syndrome by offering programs, such as the Down Syndrome Academy, Building Blocks to Success Educational Series, and the T21 Social Club.

The Down Syndrome Academy (DSA) opened its doors on January 6, 2014 with just 17 students. The Academy is comprised of the Wellness, Academics and Vocational programs. As of August 2015, we have 42 students enrolled in our school.   Our students attend classes three to five days a week, year-round, from 9:00am to 3:15pm. Most of our students are transported via MetroLift.  You can go to our website at to learn more about all of our Programs:

Wellness ~ Nutrition and fitness classes.

Academics ~ Reading, math, science, P.E., following local, national, and world events (ie, Winter Olympics, Gold Cup, Astros, Texans, etc.) and more.  The students are assessed when they enter the program and goals are developed based on their assessment results.  

Vocational training (on-site & on-location), social skills, and much more.

Building Blocks to Success Educational Series ~ Classes for parents, guardians, and caregivers.

T21 Social Club ~ Monthly social events for teens and adults with Down syndrome and their friends who may have other disabilities.  Events include dances, Moody Gardens, movies, bowling, sporting events, overnighters, and more. 

Why did we choose to have a Cinderella Ball?


We wanted to celebrate World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD), which began in 2006 in Switzerland, and is observed on 21st day of March every year.  On this day, people with Down syndrome and those who work with them throughout the world organize and participate in activities and events to raise public awareness and create a single global voice for advocating for the rights, inclusion and well being of people with Down syndrome.  This date (March 21st) was selected to signify the uniqueness of the triplication (trisomy) of the 21st chromosome that cases Down syndrome.

*Our teens and adults with Down syndrome wanted to have the opportunity to celebrate their achievements at a fun, magical, and elegant formal evening event with their family and friends.

*We wanted them to learn proper etiquette and waltzing at a formal event.  Therefore each Candidate is required to attend several etiquette classes and waltz lessons conducted by the Tomball Memorial High School NJROTCCadets and held on Saturdays from 10:00am – Noon at the Down Syndrome Academy.

*We wanted our loved ones with Down syndrome to learn the many valuable life lessons and choices that Cinderella’s fable teaches.

Look for friendship.
Be kind and thoughtful.
Be hardworking and uncomplaining.
Maintain an optimistic attitude.
Define your goal and develop a plan.
Live in the moment and enjoy.
Take responsibility.
Think outside the box.

Underwriter & Sponsorship Opportunities


    This year we have five (5) levels of Corporate Sponsorships ranging from $500 to $10,000 (Underwriter).  When a Team secures a sponsor, then that Team will be able to count the sponsored amount towards their Team’s total funds raised. For more information you can view the Underwriting & Sponsorship Opportunities Application. 

    Guest of Honor, Sujeet Desai


    The following biographical information came from the Down Syndrome International website:

    Sujeet is in his 30’s and is an award-winning professional musician and self-advocate with Down syndrome.  His mother, Sindoor, will speak about Sujeet’s journey, most recently performing in Carnegie Hall in New York City. 

    n 2009, the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) asked Sujeet to become a national spokesperson and to be a part of their “My Great Story” Down syndrome awareness project. He featured as “The Traveler”, discussing the opportunities for World travel that his career has given him and the article was published in over 40 magazines throughout the US.

    Sujeet also performed a solo recital and a duet with Kenny G at the opening ceremony of the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Idaho in front of 14,000 people and was interviewed by former World and Olympic figure skating champion Kristi Yamaguchi.

    Currently, he lives a happy independent life in his apartment in Rome, New York.
      Sujeet plays seven musical instruments including the clarinet, saxophone, violin, piano, and trumpet. In addition to his career at home, he travels the World giving solo performances in more than 15 countries and leading self-advocacy workshops to rave reviews.

    He has been the subject of documentaries, TV and international newspaper interviews.
    He has been featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show and 20/20, as well as in the Wall Street Journal and Time Magazine.

    Click to view "Carnegie Hall Dream Unfolds” in the Niagara Gazette along with a video of Sujeet practicing the piano for his concert at Carnegie Hall.  For further information on Sujeet you can visit his website at

    Cinderella & Prince Charming Contest Winners


    On Tuesday, March 1, 2016 at 6:00pm* a screen capture will be taken of the Cinderella Ball’s “Home” page where the “Top Teams” are listed.  Once funds have been verified, the female and male Candidates who have raised the most funds will be crowned as Cinderella and Prince Charming at the Cinderella Ball on Saturday, March 19, 2016.  The official announcement will be made via the following:

    Home page of the Cinderella Ball website

    Friends of Down Syndrome Facebook Page

    Email announcement (If you would like to be included in the email distribution, then please email Jennifer Friedman at

    *The reason why the contest ends more than two weeks prior to the Ball is so that our Candidates Can get used to the idea of who will be crowned Cinderella and Prince Charming the night of the Ball, therefore avoiding any meltdowns and hurt feelings the night of the Ball!

    Silent Auction


    We are looking for volunteers to join our committee.  We need people to solicit donations, assemble the baskets for display, as well as helping out the night of the Ball.  If you or anyone you know may be interested, please contact Karen Evans at (832) 630-9696 or Rosa Rochaat (281) 989-0345.  

    All donations are greatly appreciated.  Please bring your donated items as well as your completed Silent Auction Donation Form to Friends of Down Syndrome by Tuesday, March 1st at 6:00pm.

    Here are a few ideas of items and services needed:

    *Gift certificates to restaurants, hotels, grocery stores, Wal-Mart, Target, craft stores, etc.

    *Tickets to sporting events, theater, cinema, circus, etc.

    *Themed Gift baskets ideas:  baby shower, college, beach, wine, sports, candles, coffee, Italy, Texas, car detail kit, manicure, etc.  View list of Themed Gift Basket Ideas.

    *Perhaps you have a special skill that can be auctioned, such as a hair stylist, cleaning service, plumber, lawn care, florist, photographer, videographer, muralist, organizer, optometrist, orthodontist, dentist, interior decorating/design, family photo shoot, event planner, etc.

    Count Down

     days hours mintues,
     seconds until the fun begins.

    Our Goal



    32 Teams

    Team Captain's Guidebook


    Be sure to check out our 2016 Cinderella Ball Team Captain Guidebook which includes everything there is to know in order to be a successful Team Captain or Team Leader.  

    Please note that the PDF's hyperlinks are temporarily unavailable. We are working on fixing that.

    The Evening's Festivities


    March 19, 2016


    Norris Conference Center
    Red Oak Ballroom
    Houston / CityCentre

    816 Town and Country Blvd
    Houston, Texas  77024

    (I-10 & Beltway 8)

    Map & Directions

    Norris Conference Center
    driving directions

    Parking Options

    There will be a large Cinderella Ball Banner that marks the main entrance.  You can self-park on levels 3 and 4 of the Studio Movie Grill parking lot or you can valet park in front of the Studio Movie Grill on Town and Country Boulevard.

    Timeline of Events

    Registration check-in
    Silent Auction begins
    Cash bars open

    Doors open to the Ballroom
    Dinner served
    Slide Show Presentation

    Silent Auction closes
    Introduction of Candidates
    Crowning Ceremony
    Guest of Honor Presentation
    Video Presentation
    Candidates Musical Performance

    Silent Auction Checkout begins

    Valet closes
    Don't let your carriage
    turn into a pumpkin!

    More details
    Black Tie formal attire
    Plated dinner served
    Teens and adults only
    Cash bar


    Salad and dinner roll 
    Bacon-wrapped filet mignon
    with a cabernet demi glaze

    Twice-baked potato casserole
    Mixed vegetable medleyAlternating desserts of chocolate cake & cheesecake with strawberry drizzle

    We are keeping the same menu as last year since the food was delicious and there were so many compliments from our guests.  
    Vegetarian meals are also available.  If you would like to order one, please call Rosa Rocha at (281) 989-0345 or with the name of the guest and the Team’s table by Tuesday, March 1, 2016.

    Beverages & Cash Bar

    There will be two beverage stations that will have complimentary water and iced tea.  The cash bar will have the following items, although the prices are subject to change:

    Premium Cocktails $8
    Well Cocktails $7
    House Wine $5
    Imported Beer $6
    Domestic Beer $5
    Soda / Bottled Water $2

    Keep in touch!


    Help us spread the word about Friends of Down Syndrome and all of our wonderful Programs!

    Visit Friends of Down Syndrome website

    Like us on Facebook

    Follow us on Twitter

    Email Jennifer Friedman to receive our monthly eNewsletters and Cinderella Ball updates.

    Enchanted Castle Sponsors ($5,000-$9,999)

    Glass Slipper Sponsors ($1,500-$2,999)


    Magic Wand Sponsors ($500 - $1,249)


    Special Thanks