Reflecting Back on 2017

As 2017 comes to a close, I wanted to take a moment to reflect back to all the great things I was able to do, the amazing people I met and how I was able to inspire others.  I say “INSPIRE” because that was my word for 2017, and I feel really good that I was able to do that.
But let me share how:
First, in March I was accepted to be a speaker at the United Nations for World Down Syndrome Day. What an amazing experience to be able to do what I love, advocating and bringing awareness on the global stage. My presentation was on “Why Your Voice Matters”. This opportunity is something that I am so grateful for and one that I will never forget! To have the opportunity to meet other advocates from all over the world, to celebrate our lives as advocates and to share our work was amazing. Click here to read more about my wonderful day!

At United Nations
In April, I had the amazing opportunity to accept a job as an Interim Executive Director for a non-profit, LuMind RDS, that does research to develop treatments that will improve learning, memory, and speech, and therefore enhance the lives of those with Down syndrome and their families. This experience really allowed me to broaden my network and meet other leaders from other Down Syndrome organizations.
With Michelle Sie Whitten from Global Down Syndrome Foundation
October was a big month for me, not only because it is Down Syndrome Awareness Month, but because it brought so many new things in my life. First I had the opportunity to go to Washington, DC as part of the first National Down Syndrome Society Leadership Summit. During the first three days of October, I was invited along with self-advocates, ambassadors and leaders all over the country to spread awareness and announce the new legislative campaign aimed at breaking down barriers to employment for all individuals with Down syndrome, called “Law Syndrome.”
Meeting with State Representative Joseph Kennedy III
I also had the wonderful opportunities to do some live interviews. The first was with Lori Fierro Life Skills Consultant and Speaker (click on image to view video)

and the next was a Virtual Talk: Mother’s Perspective on Inclusion, where I interviewed two influential moms Sandy McElwee and Nancy Hennefer (click on image to watch interview)

I also had the wonderful opportunity to do a presentation to my son’s 5th grade class for Down Syndrome awareness and also to present to the 4th grade classes in his school for Understand Our Differences on Intellectual Disabilities.
Lastly in October, and extremely exciting and also something that truly confirmed that what I do as a Down Syndrome Mom Advocate, Speaker, Author and Community Builder is exactly what I am supposed to be doing.
I was awarded the WEGO Health “Advocating for Another Award” in Virginia in front of my husband and my son. I am so blessed to be recognized for something I am so passionate about, advocating for my son and for all individuals with Down syndrome.
As I look toward 2018, I am excited to see what the year has in store for me. But there are some goals that I am eager to see come to fruition, let me share:

  1. Speaking – I am looking forward to doing more speaking for organizations, conferences, mom groups or to be interviewed for tv or newspapers.
  2. Publish my children’s book – if you are not following my son’s travel website you may want to follow us at Adventures With A Special Traveler to hear when my book will be launched.
  3. Launch my Tshirt line! – make sure to watch here for when my tshirts will launch
  4. Launch our Non Profit! – if you are not following us on our Facebook page Special & Determined make sure to start following us to learn about when our new non-profit will launch (the goal is by World Down Syndrome Day in March)!
  5. Launch my Podcast – Please stay tuned for a new podcast show.

Let me end with this picture:


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