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VENICE, FL (September 23, 2021)— On March 23, 2021, while the world celebrated National World Down Syndrome Day, Loveland Center launched its first TikTok video to share its mission, passion, and purpose with the world. In 12 hours, “We are Loveland” had over 1 million views. With several other viral videos under their belt, this past Friday was something that Loveland Center never expected.

It all started with this video of our Loveland participants saying what they would want if a genie granted them a wish. Shannon, a Loveland participant, had innocently wished for a cat. The reveal video, posted on Friday, of a TikTok follower sending her a cat stuffed animal, has over 3.7 million views and climbing by the hour. Now, Loveland is closing in on 250,000 followers from more than 50 countries, with 3.1 million likes and 6.5 million views on their content.

“We are stunned by the overwhelming response, both local and globally, that we are witnessing,” said Jennifer Bushinger-Ortiz, chief philanthropy officer at Loveland. “We are proud that everyone can see not only the great work being done at Loveland Center, but more importantly, that our individuals deserve every opportunity to be seen and treated as equals. We are on a quest to bring visibility to disability, and it’s only just begun.”

What’s next for Loveland Center? Programs and services continue to grow and reach capacity in its four locations, while new programs are getting ready to open. Loveland’s TikTok followers have kept Amazon delivery drivers busy with more than 50 deliveries in 48 hours off its Amazon Wishlist, as well as online monetary donations. “It’s just a great day to share our mission with the world and prove that individuals with disabilities are here to make their voices heard.”

To learn more about Loveland Center or how you can help, visit www.LovelandCenter.org or call 941-493-0016 x307.

ABOUT LOVELAND CENTER

Established in 1962, Loveland Center is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to help individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) live their lives to the fullest. Loveland serves more than 500 children and adults across Sarasota, Charlotte, and Manatee Counties through programs that equip individuals with skills that will improve daily lives, build self-confidence, and develop a greater sense of independence. Loveland is committed to supporting all people, regardless of their ability, to be seen as equals at home and in their community.

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By Manatee Herald

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