Inspiring Stories

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Inspiring Stories2017-07-10T21:54:57+00:00

The Power of the Alpha Mom Network by Lynda Christel

Colten turned 5 years old in April, which meant “Hooray honey, you’re going to kindergarten.” My husband and I were excited, but a bit in the dark about the whole process to get him there. We attended the Special Education and IEP (Individualized Education Program) training classes from the school district. We were ready because, frankly, it would be a [...]

Spark-of-Awesome MOM 2018

Jill Pearns - 2018 Spark-of-Awesome MOM Award Honoree As the mom of a son with Down syndrome, Jill Pearns has devoted herself to helping all children with special needs. Jill, who spends her days as a special education consultant, is extremely involved in helping her son, as well as many others with special needs. She has risen to [...]

Spark-of-Awesome DAD 2018

Michael Maske - 2018 Spark-of-Awesome DAD Award Honoree When Michael Maske first heard the news that his daughter Zoey had Down syndrome, a friend and mentor asked him “How will you show up? How will you be a father to Zoey?” These questions made a huge impact on Michael, who has since done everything in his power to [...]

Reflections on Jaz by Jill Pearns

I am the mother of 3 very different and unique sons. Each of my boys has different looks, different builds, different personalities, different strengths and challenges. They each have different dreams as well as ambitions. It has never been a boring household, for sure, and I am grateful for the experience each of their lives has brought me. Twenty five [...]

Outstanding Service Award 2018

Exercise Program for Adults with Down Syndrome (ExDS) - 2018 Outstanding Service Award Honoree In the fall of 2017, Simon Holzapfel, PhD, ACSM-CEP launched an exercise program at the Lincoln Family Downtown YMCA for adults with Down syndrome. Simon, who is a Clinical Assistant Professor at ASU in the Department of Exercise Science and Health Promotion, created the program [...]

Outstanding Foundation Award 2018

Thunderbirds Charities - 2018 Outstanding Foundation Award Honoree Thunderbirds Charities was established in 1986 as the charitable arm of the Phoenix Thunderbirds. Its purpose is to grant funds that are generated by the Waste Management Phoenix Open golf tournament. The mission of Thunderbirds Charities is to assist children and families, help people in need and improve the quality [...]

One New Parent’s Journey by Karen Szilagyi

On an afternoon in August 2007, I had my first contraction. Everything happened pretty quickly after that. One hour and 45 minutes after that first contraction, our son arrived! And our life changed. I had all the fancy testing done during my pregnancy, and the odds of having a child with Down syndrome was 1 in 4000. But, for some [...]

Moments Like These by Jessica Crain

I can’t remember much of what I learned in school, I don’t know what I ate yesterday for lunch, and some days I forget my age wrong, but some moments stay etched in my mind with perfect detail. Replaying those moments back in my mind also brings back all the same feelings I felt in the original moment. Do [...]

Meet the 2019 Calendar Photographer!

Tina Strickland, TMarie Images - Photographer of DSNetwork's 2019 Calendar! Tina Strickland is an internationally published portrait photographer who resides in the East Valley near Phoenix, AZ.  Originally from Illinois, Tina has lived in the Valley of the Sun for over twelve years with her husband and children.  Tina is an affiliate photographer with Now I Lay Me Down [...]

Meet Joaquin

Angela and Cesar first heard about the Down Syndrome Network when they were in the process of determining the official diagnosis for their soon-to-be-born son Joaquin.“We were looking for local resources about Down syndrome online and we found the Down Syndrome Network,” Angela said. Since becoming part of the Down Syndrome Network, Angela and Cesar said the organization has [...]

Meet Chad

 Ever since getting involved with the Down Syndrome Network at least a decade ago, Chad and his mother Vickie have enjoy taking part in many of the programs, both together and separately. For Chad, he especially enjoys being part of the young adult group, as well as the chance to meet new friends and participate in activities geared for [...]

Meet Beth

Beth, who will turn 50 in September, lives with her sister Sarah, who has been Beth’s guardian and caregiver ever since their elderly parents passed away. The two have found friendship, support and plenty of enjoyable activities and programs through the Down Syndrome Network. “I feel it is just as important for Beth to affiliate with her peers as [...]

Leia Really is a Princess by Taylor Schroeder

An essay on tolerance by Taylor Schroeder, Grade 11. “Retard! She must be retarded,” the boys taunted. Their messy blonde hair flopped up and down as they jumped down the Mount Everest-like steps of the bus. I kneeled down, catching the little girl emerging from the bus in my arms and squeezed her tight. Her high-pitched laugh echoed through the [...]