NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Voya Financial, Inc. (NYSE: VOYA), today announced that several Voya families with personal ties to the disability community are participating in the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) New York City Buddy Walk on Saturday September 17. Each of the families, representing different stages and experiences, shares their individual stories to help raise awareness and benefit people with Down syndrome and their caregivers.
Starting at 9:30 a.m. ET, more than 2,000 people, including people with Down syndrome and their families and friends, are expected to walk a one-mile course to promote inclusion and acceptance. The New York Walk, sponsored by Voya Cares®, will kick off in Times Square with the annual video presentation on a huge jumbotron. Walkers will then join Central Park on the Great Hill, where the march will begin shortly before 1 p.m. The event will honor Nico Taylor, a son of Olympians, and TikTok influencer Mallory Snellen as grand marshals, ending at 3 p.m.
The Voya families participating in the walk represent people with multiple experiences, including Bill Harmon, Chief Client Officer of Voya, whose 21-year-old son, William, has Down’s syndrome and has just entered the workforce.
“NDSS has supported our family since William was born, but as he turned 21 and left the school system, we benefited from their guidance in preparing us and William for the next phase of his life,” Harmon said. “Years earlier, we began to assess his needs, strengths and skills and put a plan in place to help him transition from full-time student to full-time employee. , while preserving their autonomy and quality of life. By providing future financial security and lifelong care, it has allowed my wife and I to plan for our retirements and the legacy we want to leave for our three children.
Team Voya member Kay Lee Mynatt and her 8-month-old son Spencer, who has Down Syndrome, are traveling from Indianapolis to attend the NYC Buddy Walk – a first for her young family of four. For Kay Lee, her husband Nick, their 3-year-old son Max and their little brother Spencer, the walk is an opportunity to highlight the needs of young families who are juggling new experiences, such as specific medical care needs, childcare and local support research.
“NDSS has provided my family with a welcoming and friendly introduction to the Down syndrome community which has made us less afraid of the unknowns of Spencer’s development as we know we have a great support system to lean on when we finally have questions. It’s allowed us to worry less about her future and really enjoy the stage of life we find ourselves in as a new family of four,” said Kay Lee.
Sandra McGrath, project manager at Voya, shares the experiences of her 54-year-old brother, James Gauthier, as he prepares for another stage in his life: retirement.
“Both NDSS and Voya Cares have helped me structure James’ finances and improve his quality of life to give him a comfortable life doing the things he loves,” Sandie explained. “While he is looking forward to retirement, it is important that he remains healthy and as independent as possible in his apartment, while maintaining his lifestyle involving all the activities he enjoys.”
Voya’s support of the NDSS Buddy Walk program aligns with the company’s commitment to people with disabilities and their caregivers through Voya Cares, an extensive program and resource center that aims to ensure that all individuals can secure their financial future.
About Voya Financial®
Voya Financial, Inc. (NYSE: VOYA), is a leading health, wealth and investment company that provides products, solutions and technologies that enable a better financial future for its customers, its customers and society. Servicing the needs of 14.3 million retail, professional and institutional customers, Voya has approximately 6,000 employees and total assets under management and administration of $644 billion as of June 30, 2022. Certified as a “Great Place to Work” by the Great Place to Work® Institute, Voya is driven and also committed to conducting its business in a socially, environmentally, economically and ethically responsible manner. Voya has been recognized as: one of the world’s most ethical companies® by the Ethisphere Institute; member of the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index; and a “Best Workplace for Disability Inclusion” on the Disability Equality Index. For more information, visit voya.com. Follow Voya Financial on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter @voya.
As an extension of Voya’s vision and mission to help all Americans have the quality of life they seek in retirement, the Voya Cares program is committed to being a leader in making a positive difference. in the lives of people with disabilities and special needs – as well as their families, caregivers and other care providers – by offering a full range of resources focused on education, planning and solutions. Visit Voyacares.com to find out more.
The National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) is the leading human rights organization for all people with Down syndrome. NDSS envisions a world in which all people with Down syndrome have the opportunity to improve their quality of life, achieve their life aspirations, and become valued members of caring communities. Founded in 1979, NDSS supports and advocates for the Down syndrome community by focusing on three key areas of programming: resources and support, policy and advocacy, and community engagement. Within these priority areas, the NDSS engages in various activities, events, and programs such as the National Advocacy & Policy Center, which seeks to create systemic change through engaged advocacy; the National Buddy Walk® program, which honors and celebrates people with Down syndrome in local communities around the world and other initiatives that provide support, informational resources and community engagement opportunities for people with Down syndrome and those who support them. Visit www.ndss.org for more information about NDSS.
About the National Buddy Walk®
Since 1995, the National Buddy Walk Program has been the world’s premier peer-to-peer awareness, advocacy and fundraising program for Down syndrome. It was created by the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) to promote acceptance and inclusion of people with Down Syndrome and to raise funds for local and national incentives to support the Down Syndrome community. Today, over 200 Buddy Walk events take place in cities across the country and in select international locations. To learn more and find a Walk Buddy near you, visit buddywalk.org.