Nicolas M. Allen
If you hear music, singing, and see dancing; chances are its Nic. He came out with music in his heart. The first beat in the morning reveals his opening selection. It could be Les Mis or Taylor Swift. His taste is vast, his passion consistent. Second to music, acting, directing, and swimming fill his free time. Nic envisions a wide variety of production story lines. His iphone has been his main tool for video experimentation. The future is sure to include his genuine enthusiasm for life. You can’t be around Nic without feeling better about being alive.
Danny Barbier is a friendly 13-year old from Denver, Colorado who loves superheroes. He is a seventh grader at Grant Beacon Middle School in Denver. He is the youngest of three children, with a sister, Kellie, in high school and a brother, Luke, in college. Because Danny’s apraxia makes speaking difficult, he expresses himself best by doing. He loves to draw, and always carries drawing supplies in his backpack. Danny enjoys swimming and skiing. This year he also participated in Global’s Dare to Play Football program.
Clarissa Joann Capuano
Clarissa is 9 years old and lives in Englewood, Colorado. She is a Global Down Syndrome Foundation Ambassador. Clarissa has two older brothers, Alec and Jesse. When she was born, she surprised everyone with an extra chromosome. There have been a few challenges along the way such as heart surgery at four months. Since then, Clarissa has been on the go and really enjoying life! She loves to sing, dance, ride horses, swim, hike and play dress-up. She also likes piano. This year she started second grade, and her favorite class is PE, where she can go outside and play, run and play basketball.
Chloe is ten years old and exhibits a passion for taking care of everyone around her. She maintains a well-rounded and active lifestyle with a love of art, music, and dance; as well as a talent and interest in skiing, swimming and cheer leading. Chloe is currently in her fourth year as a junior Denver Broncos cheerleader and was the first participant with Down Syndrome on her local neighborhood swim team. When she isn’t trailblazing her way through stereotypes and limitations, she enjoys a thriving social life as a kind, funny and very out-going fifth grader.
DeOndra has been a Global Down Syndrome Foundation Ambassador since 2011. She is the inaugural Quincy Jones Exceptional Advocacy Award recipient. DeOndra lives in California and travels around the U.S. and the world representing Global at conferences and events. She loves being a model and a role model. DeOndra loves her family, travel, bowling and movies. She is an excellent dancer and performed at the Grammys. DeOndra’s family has helped her reach her potential, and now she is helping others with Down syndrome do the same.
Gavin is a 13-year-old little boy, who loves church, adores his family, excels at dance, enjoys school, plays football, baseball and video games, has numerous friends and has changed countless lives. He has struggled with more than his share of medical issues, but has done it with strength, with courage and with a smile. He doesn’t let much knock him down, not even leukemia. And when he gets knocked down, he doesn’t stay down for long. Though he has had many obstacles in his short life, he has fought, he has persevered and he is winning.
Charlotte is 13 years old and lives in Annapolis, Maryland. Charlotte, or Charley as those close to her call her, is a bright, sweet, thoughtful, imaginative young lady. She enjoys traveling, swimming, hanging out with her friends and being a member of the competitive cheerleading team Maryland Twisters Storm Chasers. Charlotte plans on attending college one day, being a contestant on “Dancing With the Stars,” opening her own business and continuing to be an advocate for the Down syndrome community. Charlotte is very honored and extremely excited to be a model in this year’s Be Beautiful Be Yourself Fashion Show.
Kayla is 26 years old and lives with her family in Lafayette, Colorado. She attended Erie High School and was a varsity cheerleader. She has been involved in competitive cheer for 14 years. She cheers for the Cheer Central Colorado Suns competitive team. The Colorado Suns won a bid and competed at World at Disneyworld this April. Kayla attends Imagine and Core and is employed part-time at Safeway. Kayla is also connected to the Global Down Syndrome Foundation and participates in the Dare to Cheer, Miss Colorado princesses and also with the Dare Junior Bronco Cheerleader. Kayla enjoys music, movies, bowling, art projects, paint by number and watching television. She lives a full life and is dearly loved by her family.
Matthew is 23 years old and lives in Peachtree City, GA. Throughout the year he plays tennis with Special Pops and the SPUD (Special Populations Unified Doubles) league. This past summer he placed 2nd in tennis at the GA Special Olympics held at Emory University. He also enjoys dancing, karaoke, swimming and putt putt golf. Matthew likes to vacation with his family and take full advantage of all amenities while traveling. He is a whiz with all Apple technology and most appreciative that it allows him ease with communication. In his downtime you will find him watching NCIS, White Collar or Hawaii 5-0.
Pearl is eleven years old and lives in Evergreen, Colorado. Pearl is most happy when she is surrounded by friends and family. She is compassionate, caring, and loves to laugh. To relax, Pearl reads books, listens to music, sings karaoke, and watches movies. To have fun, she skis fast, swims in the deep end, and dances silly. Pearl gets very excited when she visits a hospital or an airport, and she would like to work with a doctor or a pilot when she grows up.
Kenlee Grace Karl
Kenlee is a vivacious 10 year old that enjoys anything that involves being social, loves her school, her teachers and her friends and attending church. Kenlee loves the outdoors, swimming, bouncing on the trampoline and climbing trees. Her favorite foods are hamburgers and french fries, which she prefers to wash down with her preferred beverage of Sprite. Kenlee enjoys books, playing “Momma” to her dolls and pretending she is in school as her sister Kaitlyn pretends to be the teacher. Kenlee has also just completed her 11th photo shoot for the Red River Valley Down Syndrome Society for the 2017 calendar. She was about two months old during the first photo shoot in 2006.
Jake is the 10 year old son of Andy and Marien Lacle. He lives with his family on the lovely island of Aruba. Jake is very fortunate to have relatives in Colombia, which means he travels twice a year to visit family, especially his cousins in Colombia. His cousins love spending time with Jake and have nicknamed him “Principe” which means Prince. Jake attends a school for special needs children in Aruba and he is in the 4th grade. Jake is a happy student and loves school. Jake is an active 10 year old and enjoys playing soccer. In addition, each weekend, Jake heads to one of Aruba’s noted beaches with his family to take advantage of water activities. Jake’s smile is welcoming to all….he loves people and is eager to give hugs and kisses….especially to his grandparents whom he adores.
Sam Levin is 13 years old and in the 8th grade at West Middle School. Even though he’s a triplet, his brother Jake and sister Lexi will tell you that Sam is one of a kind! An avid sportsman, Sam is on the track and basketball teams at West and enjoys Unified Lacrosse and baseball. Whether it’s a joke or a snappy one liner, Sam is quick to make you laugh which lends to his plan to pursue a career in stand-up comedy. His love for the limelight will make parlaying his fame in an appearance on “Dancing with the Stars” no trouble at all.
Kenleigh is a 7 year old bright and “spirited” girl. She is known to experiment with cooking and most recently hairstyling. She just gave herself a hefty chop. Her #1 fan is her older sister, Rhegan who adores her. Kenleigh participates in the Dare to Dance and Dare to Play Soccer programs through GDSF along with the NSCD skiing ability clinic for 3 seasons now. She asks daily for her own horse after taking her first trail ride through Winter Park! She is a girly girl who LOVES dress up and get her nails polished. HUGS and and Kisses are her specialty. She will give them to anyone who is near her. Lastly, Kenleigh couldn’t wait for everyone to meet her. She decided to enter the world 10 weeks early just weighing 1lb,14 ozs Facing numerous medical challenges, including open heart surgery, has made her a fighter and have a zest for life which shows in her her magnetic personality…
Ava Nanda Nelson AKA “Bijou” is a super sassy and happy seven year old. She is sensitive, spiritual, witty, loving and did we mention, sassy?! Bijou is typically walking the hallway or stairway then striking her signature pose “the leg pop”! Some of her hobbies include singing, dancing, Crossfit, Red Shirt Rookies, cooking in her kitchen and playing outside with friends. Ava loves to get her nails polished with mommy, go on daddy/daughter dates, do “sleepovers” with her big sis and is always asking her big brother if he’ll marry her (his answer is always, Yes!). Her favorite things are chips and salsa, spaghetti, accessories, being Miss Bossypants and her family. She is a pint sized bundle of love, humor, joy and hugs. Ava naturally brightens the day and melts the hearts of everyone she meets!
Lisa M. Newtop
Proud Mother, artist, pioneer; at fifty Lisa has done it all. Born before most disability legislation, she was the first in many classrooms. Struggling to find acceptance, she found art. Her plan to live on her own was a reality for 14 years. Her most cherished role by far is being Nicolas’s mother. Lisa and her parents have co parented a happy, healthy, active, young man. Rendering her thoughts, hopes and dreams in pastels, pencils, and watercolors, her art is unmistakably a product of her experience. She beams as she swims, dances, and draws through life.
Olivia is 11 years old and lives in Denver, Colorado. She attends her neighborhood school where she recently earned a Character Education award for Perseverance. Over her short life, Olivia has overcome many challenges, including 15+ surgeries and learning to eat after 6 long years of g-tube dependency. Olivia’s painting Wabi Sabi was featured on Global’s 2015 Dare to Ride Courage Classic bike jersey. Olivia enjoys school, swimming, reading, singing, playgrounds, babies and dogs. W. B. Yeats “There are no strangers here; Only friends you haven’t met yet” applies to Olivia. She loves meeting new people as well as spending time her family and friends.
Rebekah is 15 and is a sophomore. She loves to swim. She loves dogs and her cat, Kato. Reading and watching movies are two favorite activities. She likes to play by dramatically reenacting movie scenes. She also enjoys blasting music in the car, her favorite kind is Christmas music. Rebekah enjoys writing stories, often her main character is Rosco the dog. She wanted to add “I love the police, I love Jesus and they also love me.” Chips and Emergency are her favorite TV shows. She loves her brothers Jeremy and Ben and especially loves Ben’s dog Rosco.
Louis Rotella IV
Louis Rotella IV (“Louie” for short) is the 2016 Global Down Syndrome Foundation Ambassador! He is a 16 years old sophomore in high school from Omaha, Nebraska. There are a couple more things that make Louie quite unique. One is that at the age of eight he was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes (T1D). He is also unique because he is the main character in the multiple awards winning children’s book, “The Little King in His Marshmallow Kingdom. This book gives you access to some of the lessons of my life, and all of the laughter!
Alexandra, “Alex” or “Zy”, as her friends and family call her, wakes up every morning happy and delighted, asking “where are we going?”. She is a 18 year old and graduated from Warrior at Arapahoe High School last year. Alex loves planning her outfits, with a theme of the day, whether it’s camping at Roundup River Ranch, Easter Seals Rocky Mountain Village, or sailing with the NSCD at Grand Lake, Alex is always ready for action. Amazingly, she’s even excited when we go to the doctors, a testament to her wonderful caregivers, nurses, and surgeons, whom have extended and improved Alex’s life immeasurably. Alex particularly loves her sports activities: Global Down Syndrome’s Dare to Cheer Junior Bronco Cheerleaders, Peak Stars Dance, Unified basketball, cheer, and now lacrosse. All these events inspire her playfully steal noses, fingers, and toes of her dear friends and instructors as she awaits for the next run down the mountain in her sit ski, a dance with her peers at Global’s Hollywood Ball, or a cruise down the runway with the extraordinary people that make Be Beautiful, Be Yourself the highlight of Alex’s life.
Max is an outgoing seventh grader who loves staying active! He enjoys swimming and bowling. However, his favorite activity is skiing. During the winter, Max skis with the adaptive ski program at Beaver Creek Resort. Max has a love for music and sings in his school choir. He is an avid reader who enjoys fantasy stories, especially the Harry Potter series.
Marcus Sikora is a 26 year old creative soul who lives in Omaha, Nebraska. He has acted on stage with local and national companies as well as written a short one act which was produced locally. His first storybook for children, and accompanying animated short is: Black Day: The Monster Rock Band. When he’s not watching theater, singing, or working out, he’s writing new stage productions and contemplating Black Day Two.
You can connect with Marcus and his adventures via Twitter (@marcusmusical), Facebook (GrownUpsAndDowns), and BlackDayBook.com
Frank is a Global Messenger for Special Olympics from Fairfax, Virginia. In October of 2012, he was at the center of a very public debate over the continued power of the “r-word” to casually demean people with intellectual disabilities. Frank wrote an open letter to political commentator Ann Coulter after her use of the term to describe the president. As a result of his letter “going viral” and his appearance on “Piers Morgan Tonight,” Frank has made more than 3 million new friends via social media. Frank, also an actor, is featured in a film called “The Senior Prank.” He has also written a film, “Common Dreams.”
Sara Stephenson was born in Denver, Colorado on August 30, 1982. She graduated from Standly Lake High School in 2001. After graduation, Sara worked for Kohl’s Department Store for 13 years. Sara began her current job at Steamers Coffeehouse in 2013. She appeared on the ABC television show. The Chew, where she represented Steamers and the fabulous jam she helps make there. Sara participated in Special Olympics for many years. She has been playing ice hockey as active member of Special Hockey International since 1996, joining our local Colorado Ice Wizards as their goalie in 2010. Also, Sara is a world traveler, having visited every Disney Park in the world.
Sarah Wrubel is a funny and energetic 8th grader who lives in Colorado Springs. She runs track with Holmes Middle School, swims with Valley Swim Club and acts in musical theater through the MAT Theater and Holmes Middle School. Sarah makes new friends easily and when she is not in school or at other activities she enjoys reading her teen celebrity magazines and watching her favorite shows on Disney Channel. She plans to live in New York City and be a big star. She is much loved by her mother, Lila, her father, Rob, her brother, Benjie and sister, Annie.