Maya’s family has been walking in the Buddy Walk since Maya was a baby. Over time they have realized how important it is to walk and share with our community how proud they are of individuals who have Down syndrome, like Maya. The enthusiasm that Maya shows about life is one of the most important lessons that she has given to their family and anyone who comes in contact with her.
One of their favorite memories of the Buddy Walk is when Maya was younger. At the time she was quite averse to the loud noise at the Buddy Walk parade and was not interested in going. As a way to distract her they brought candy for her to toss out to the crowd. It was a hit! Maya loved walking along side her team and handing out candy. When the candy was gone (and it was gone quickly because she dispersed it quickly), she started giving high fives to everyone. The crowd was so receptive and open to her infectious smile, everyone who saw her coming wanted a high five, which put a huge smile on their faces.
DSNetwork has been an anchor for education, research and social interaction for Maya and her family. Maya enjoys meeting her buddy’s at social events and being welcomed and included for who she is, a girl who wants to be a part of everything and anything. They are very thankful that DSNetwork sees the potential in individuals like Maya and supports their family by bringing national speakers to help the Down syndrome community advocate for our loved ones.
They know that this year the Buddy Walk will look a little different. But for them, it still remains an important event to share with their family and friends. DSNetwork has been a lifeline for Maya through the COVID pandemic. Her monthly meetings with the Tweens & Tweens UP social groups via Zoom has been a way to stay connected to our little community. Maya instantly gets her Tweens & Tweens UP shirt to wear it proudly on the days they meet. Through this adverse time, the DSNetwork staff and volunteers have really been thinking outside the box. They have taken the Zoom meetings a step further and have made it more engaging and tangible by delivering supplies for painting parties or joke books as a way for our loved ones to interact with each other. They are so thankful for the innovative thinking this organization represents.