Buggy Jo is a name the Oklahoma Christian University community knows well, and Saturday, students and faculty will have the opportunity to attend a free magic show in support of the Down Syndrome Association of Central Oklahoma (DSACO).
Ryan Newell, professor of psychology, will perform at the show. The event is sponsored by the Oklahoma Christian PsychoFam Club and the department of psychology and family science. Although the magic show has free entry, the audience is asked to make donations to support DSACO.
Each year, the psychology and family studies department finds a way to give back. According to Newell, they are called to do this, and he is happy to be a part of the efforts. The department sponsored a magic show in the fall, raised $500 and wanted to offer a similar opportunity this spring.
“I am proud of our students and our department,” Newell said. “We have been organizing yearly fundraisers for the past five or six years and have raised money for breast cancer research, auto-immune disorders and disaster relief efforts, among others.”
DSACO is a nonprofit founded in 2000 with a mission of raising awareness and providing resources, as well as promoting acceptance and inclusion for people with Down Syndrome.
Oklahoma Christian has a connection with DSACO through Bobby Kern, professor of psychology and family studies. Kern’s son, Josiah, was born with Down Syndrome in 2013. Since then, Kern has been involved with DSACO and now serves as the president of the board of directors for the association.
Kern’s family’s team, Team Buggy Jo, represents the DSACO fundraiser on campus, with the communities of Edmond and Oklahoma Christian continuing to support them. Restaurants around Edmond host support days for Team Buggy Jo and donate part of their profits to the team, while Oklahoma Christian designs team shirts every year to sell on campus, donating the profits in Josiah’s name. Last year, DSACO was chosen as the Spring Sing philanthropy project with a goal of raising $15,000.
The money donated to DSACO goes toward a variety of family-oriented events, educational workshops and community awareness campaigns. These include new parent breakfasts, the annual 5K run, parent support meetings and tutoring labs.
“DSACO envisions communities where everyone — including those with disabilities — is accepted, included, empowered and given the opportunity and choice to create their own happiness and path to success,” DSACO’s website said.
Newell said the magic show will be fun for people of all ages and encourages all Oklahoma Christian students and faculty to attend.
“While I know our students as a whole are so involved in many charitable and outreach programs, it is an opportunity to support DSACO – an organization that contributes so much to the lives of so many families in the OKC area,” Newell said.
The show will take place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Adams Recital Hall on Saturday.