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story.lead_photo.caption Danielle Pezely Down Syndrome Connection of Northwest Arkansas (DSCNWA), President of Board of Directors Day job: I'm a stay-at-home mommy to 3 kids under 5.

Tell us about your organization:

Mission: Our mission is to facilitate inclusion and respect for individuals with Down syndrome within the Northwest Arkansas community, ensuring that they have access to the support and the resources necessary to reach their full potential at all stages of life.

Respect Run 5K

And 1 mile fun run

Who: Down Syndrome Connection of Northwest Arkansas

What: Chip-timed 5K, prizes, fun run

When: 8 a.m. Oct. 13

Where: Arvest Ballpark in Springdale

Registration: $30; deadline is Oct. 11

Information: (479) 531-9555 or

Services provided: We hold monthly educational and social events and visit parents who just received a Down syndrome diagnosis. During those visits we provide them with new parent baskets filled with educational material and other goodies. We connect families with resources they need including connecting them to other families, sharing therapy provider information, and providing help with medical and financial paperwork.

Service area: Northwest Arkansas and those in surrounding areas if we are the closest Down syndrome organization to them.

Average number of people served annually: 250 families

Why do you volunteer for a nonprofit organization? Do you have a personal connection to the mission? I have three adorable kids, and my middle child, Bradley, has Down syndrome. We found out that he had Down syndrome right after he was born. I felt overwhelmed as we tried to figure out what that meant for him and for our family both in the short and long term. The founder of the Down syndrome organization where we lived came to visit us shortly after his birth, and it was wonderful. We felt so much love, understanding and support as she left our home. I told my husband that one day I'd like to do the same for other families. Having a child with Down syndrome was unexpected, but it doesn't take long to realize that we hit the jackpot when we joined this club. I love being able to visit and support new parents and learn from more experienced parents. Throughout this journey we have discovered how lucky we are.

What challenges face your organization? We want to provide more for our families -- more educational programs, more activities, and drive awareness across Northwest Arkansas. We are at the point where we need dedicated staff to realize those dreams. Today, we are strictly a volunteer organization; as we continue to grow, we need to raise additional funds and grow our volunteer network. We want to increase the frequency and quality of our educational events, provide additional support for family members, train local hospitals on how to appropriately deliver a diagnosis, help parents with IEPs, and grow programs that span the entire lifetime of our individuals with Down syndrome.

Are there volunteer opportunities in your organization? What are they? Yes! Volunteers are welcome at all of our events! We have service opportunities for all ages! Sign up to be a volunteer at

What upcoming fundraisers and/or other events does your organization have planned? The Inclusion Walk and Respect Run 5K on Oct. 13 is our biggest event and our primary fundraiser of the year. The Respect Run 5K is at 8 a.m. From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. there will be games, crafts, activities, performances and a silent auction. Come run and support a wonderful cause. We'd love to see you there!

NAN Profiles on 10/07/2018

Print Headline: Personified

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