We had a prenatal diagnosis of Down Syndrome when we were pregnant with my daughter, Sara. We lived in Central Texas when she was born, surrounded by family and friends, but not others with Down syndrome. When we had the opportunity to move to my hometown of El Paso, TX, we did not know that we would walk into the warmest, kindest, and friendliest family of the Down syndrome Coalition of El Paso.
We moved to El Paso in June of 2016; we quickly got involved with the DSC. We learned we had a new family that was fit for all ages. Our first event was the Summer Symposium, where we learned so much about what El Paso had to offer and so many issues we never thought about. Since then, we have attended almost every event that the DSC put on. My daughter had the privilege of attending Every Little Blessing Preschool for two years. ELB offers early intervention where children with Down syndrome work, learn and play alongside typically developing children. At ELB is where Sara blossomed the most, her speech, fine motor skills, play skills, and so much more. Her last year at ELB was cut short due to COVID-19, but she learned so many lifelong skills that will continue to shine for years to come.
I have seen the DSC mission statement at work firsthand. Together we are building a better tomorrow through education, advocacy, and support. Before COVID-19, the DSC had many events throughout the year, like the music program partnered with Sound Stage 9, Book club for young adults, Holiday Party, Spring Eggstravaganza, Summer Symposium, Whole Hog, and the Buddy Walk were planned for our families. These events are where inclusion, support, and acceptance are embraced. I see a bright future for the DSC, where goals are made and with the help of the El Paso Community Foundation, and I have no doubt we will achieve them.
Belinda Walker, Vice President