By the time our son was born on April 30th , 2015, my husband and I already knew just how lucky we were to be a part of the Down Syndrome Network of Greater Greensboro. We’d received a diagnosis of Trisomy 21 when I was fourteen weeks pregnant, and in the ensuing chaos of fetal EKGs, monthly ultrasounds, heartbeat checks, and – let’s be honest – a massive amount of worry on our parts as expectant parents, it was unbelievably reassuring to be able to Google the words ‘Down syndrome Greensboro’ and come face-to- face with a diverse group of warm, passionate, caring individuals, who were ready to help us through our journey in any way we needed. We received a welcome bag packed with information on Down syndrome, stories of local families who were raising children with ‘that little something extra,’ books and resources, DVDs and more. After Javier was born and out of the NICU, we took advantage of the many opportunities extended to us to attend local baseball games, bowling nights, pool parties, and more with families like ours, and soaked up the understanding, acceptance, and helpful advice from parents who had been through all of the things that were new to us: writing our first Individualized Family Service Plan, finding a feeding therapist to help our son learn to nurse, and even giving recommendations on the most patient Santa in the Triad.

These are just a few of the many reasons I want to thank you for helping to make 2017 such a great year for DSNGG. We have been able to do some amazing things this year – not only have we sustained our new parent programs, family connection events, and outreach, but we’ve added our 3.21 5k, an incredible outreach event and the only 5k starting in beautiful Lebauer Park in Downtown Greensboro.

We’ve increased our advocacy and awareness work by joining in the inaugural UNITE (Understanding the Needs of Inclusion Takes Everyone) event in downtown Greensboro , hosting a fireside chat with Guilford County School’s new Superintendent, and forming a new educational outreach committee, dedicated to improving our children’s access to their best possible public education.

As we move forward into 2018, I am proud of what we have accomplished, and am excited for the future. We have some big things planned for this year, including our first group attendance at the Buddy Walk on Washington, a national workshop and day of advocacy in our nation’s capital, expanded offerings of workshops and seminars for families in the greater Greensboro area, scholarship opportunities for individuals with Down syndrome who would like greater access to therapies, camps, and workshops, hosting our fifteenth annual Buddy Walk fundraiser, and much more. I hope that you’ll continue to follow along on this journey with us as we work to create a brighter, more inclusive future for our children.

Martha Chaires
Board President, Down Syndrome Network of Greater Greensboro

Jorge Chaires, Buddy Walk Coordinator
Martha Wade Chaires, Board President
Umeeka Easterling
Amy Foy, Treasurer
Kris Gardinier
Shannon Hairston
Korey Hickling RN, BSN, CCRN

Mary Catherine Kirkman
Lindsay Laney, Vice President
Megan Williams, Secretary

Frank Wolff, MPT