Ruta Graham joined Galway Bay FM’s Keith Finnegan on Galway Talks on Friday (30th September).
LOTS OF SOCKS: The focus of Lots of Socks is to raise awareness of Down syndrome in the Galway community during the month of October. This is the 4th year of Lots of Socks and we would like this year’s discussion to be focused around Inclusion. Not the kind that exists on paper, in company’s/schools’ policies and Inclusion token events but the actual reality of families with children with intellectual disabilities. We are asking the Galway community to look at inclusion from a slightly different angle – instead of wondering what can I do? Ask instead – what will I learn from this person? How will my life be enriched by the experience of having a friend with intellectual disability? We are asking you to invite a child or an adult to your social gathering not out of pity or guilt but out of understanding that it is for your own benefit to practice open minded, kind-hearted and non-judgmental relationships. Look at inclusion from a selfish point of view – what will it do for me? You will be surprised 😊”
THE BACKGROUND: Founder Ruta tells her story….The Down Syndrome Association in Lithuania ran an once off awareness campaign in 2018 during which they were handing out little socks that were knitted by locals. Me being from Lithuania wanted to help if I could so I asked my mum to knit some socks and send it to them. She did. And she kept knitting even after the campaign. When she told me she had a bag of little socks for them for the next year I just couldn’t bring myself to say oh, they don’t need them anymore and instead said, you know what, send them to me, to Ireland I’ll do something with them. Since then, many knitters came to help, we’ve had socks sent to us from Dublin, Monaghan, Cork, Wexford, all over Ireland. We also received socks from Slovakia this year and some are coming from Australia.
Sadly Ruta’s mum passed away in 2019, the little socks are also a tribute to her legacy.
WHY SOCKS? – some say chromosomes look a little bit like pairs of socks. People with Down Syndrome have an extra copy of the 21st chromosome.
WHY DIFFERENT COLOURED? We all are different – extra chromosomes or not. To represent that we choose different colours.
WHY GET THEM? It’s one in a million designer pieces, handmade by local people or if you’re lucky – your socks will be from overseas! You will be also supporting Galway’s Down Syndrome Community by wearing them, sharing pictures and donating to the campaign.
Funds raised in support of Voices for Down Syndrome Galway, speech therapy project.
2022 POSTER CAMPAIGN: This year the theme of our campaign is INCLUSION – EVERYTHING’S BETTER TOGETHER, featuring friends Leah & Ashlyn. The posters will form part of a month-long visual campaign at 10 bus stop shelters around Galway city and suburbs, across social media as well as a radio advert on GBFM voiced by the two girls…keep an eye out and a listen in.
KNITTERS: Lots of Socks would not be possible without the support of the knitters (from all over Ireland and beyond), we estimate we will have approx 3500 pairs of knitted socks to share and wear this October, all voluntary hand knitted. This is a community effort and many of the knitters have indicated that knitting the little socks was something positive to do during lock-down and gave them a purpose to focus on..
Also Ruta’s mum sadly passed away last November, the little socks are also a tribute to her legacy, which we hope will grow bigger each year.
SUPPORTERS: This year we are also very lucky to be supported not only by businesses giving us their platform to sell the socks but also by a workforce of volunteers in preparation for this campaign. Thousands of socks had to be paired, pinned, packed and distributed to different locations, while the charity is run by parents only and it would be impossible to do it all without external support.
A big thank you to all our sponsors, supporters and volunteers, with a special mention to McD’s Home and Garden, Photographer Constatine Zamfir and Graphic Designer Gedas.
HOW CAN YOU HELP RAISE AWARENESS DURING OCTOBER?
Wear the Little Socks to show your support: The little socks will be available in various outlets throughout Galway city and County during the month of October and we expect the demand will be very high. The socks are individually packed and supporters can make a donation of their choice into the box or through the QR code on the accompanying card. It’s important to note that there is no price on them, it’s up to everyone to donate whatever they can but also it’s very important to wear them.
People can also donate to the campaign at https://www.idonate.ie/fundraiser/11409015_lots-of-socks-galway.html
Take a box of Little Socks – Support Galway’s Down Syndrome Community by wearing them, sharing pictures, and donating if you can.
We have lots of boxes of Little Socks packed and ready to share and wear for October and would be delighted if you could support by taking a counter top box for your place of work, local shop etc (a donation can be made into the box or via a QR code accompanying each packet of little socks).
Help at a Flag Day – In partnership with Lidl, Oranmore we have a fantastic opportunity to hold Lots of Socks Flag Days, every weekend during October. If you are willing to give a few hours on a Saturday or Sunday during October, please get in touch and let us know.
Contact 087 6448277 or through Lots of Socks Galway FB page