Sarah is 17 years old and lives in Plano, Texas. She is a sophomore and plans to attend college just like her brother and sister. Her hobbies include singing, dancing, modeling, all sports and being a flyer on her National Champions cheerleading team Lucky Stars. Sarah loves to travel and go to concerts with her family and friends. She completes her family and brings much joy and love with her humorous and sassy ways. Sarah is a self-advocate who aspires to be a model/actress and get married someday. She loves life and inspires others every day to do the same.
Clarissa is 10 years old and lives in Englewood, Colorado. She is the 2015 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, minor speed bumps. Since then, Clarissa has been on the go and really enjoying life! She loves to do gymnastics, swim, dance and play dress-up. This year she started fourth grade, and her favorite class is PE, where she can go outside and play, run and play basketball.
Ty is 10 years old and lives in Valley Cottage, New York. He is a shy but fun-loving and very witty boy. He loves to dance while listening to rock n roll and upbeat music. Some of his favorite artists are ACDC, The Who, Journey, and Eric Clapton. The songs he can’t get enough of are Can’t Stop the Feeling by Justin Timberlake and Happy by Pharrell. He loves playing basketball and football, but swimming is his favorite hobby. He has been participating in karate for over 5 years and will earn his black belt in December. This year he also started to train jiu-jitsu. His favorite meal is a cheeseburger and fries with ice cream for dessert. One of his favorite shows to watch is The Diary of a Wimpy Kid.
DeOndra has been a Global Down Syndrome Foundation Ambassador since 2011 and is the inaugural Quincy Jones Exceptional Advocacy Award recipient. She 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.
Loren, a.k.a. Sissy is 23 and is the eldest child of three children. She lives McMinnville, Oregon with her family. Loren likes to shop, sing, dance and color, and she loves being pampered and getting manicures and pedicures. She loves meeting new people and going to community dances, events and hanging out with her friends. She really enjoys Zumba and attends several times a week. She is currently employed through MV Advancements. Loren would like to one day be a model. She is vivacious, spunky, and has a carefree personality. Her charismatic and contagious smile lights up every room she walks in to.
Jacob is 22 years old and lives in Papillion, Nebraska. He currently works as a pre-school paraprofessional and takes continuing education classes at Career Solutions, Inc. These include: Video Game Programing, Stage Craft, and Intro to Broadcasting. In high school, Jacob was a member of the marching and concert band, the JV bowling team. He was also voted Homecoming King by his peers his senior year. In April of 2017, in Washington D.C., Jacob was honored to receive the 2017 NDSS Self Advocate Champion of Change Award on Capitol Hill, and in 2016, he was an NDSS O’Neill Tabani Scholarship recipient. Jacob is a competitive swimmer, soccer player, bowler and power lifter for the Special Olympics and has 10 state gold medals.
Regina is 16 years old and the youngest child of Oscar and Regina Janga. Regina was born in Aruba and resides there with her parents. She has two older brothers, Zjevaun and Brazezja. She currently attends school in Duna Man. In the afternoons, she attends the after school sessions at Traimerdia Sonrisa where she is so comfortable, she considers it her second home. When Regina was born, her family fell in love with her instantly. She was a very quiet and easy baby, but little did her family know she was only saving her energy for later in life! Music is the center point of her family’s life, and Regina was immersed as early as 4 years old. She loves listening to music, singing her heart out, and dancing to her favorite tunes, in her home, in the stores, wherever she is! Regina is a happy young lady and gives hugs willingly.
Brett is a 14-year-old freshman at Legend High School in Parker, Colorado. He is on the Varsity Cheer team and sings in the choir. He got a rough start to life with his heart stopping at 20 months old after a battle with croup. At 9 years old, Brett entered the foster care system, but found his forever family in his former teacher! While he battles some health issues and epilepsy, he was a 2015 ambassador for Children’s Hospital Colorado for showing perseverance through treatment. Brett is a charismatic, active, and charming boy who loves to laugh and make others laugh with him. You will almost never see him without his favorite stuffed animals in hand, especially Bert and Woody. He is part of the Junior Denver Broncos Cheerleaders team, competes in Special Olympics, and loves to sing, dance, model, dress-up, and go to Disneyland!
Tyreese is 17 years old. He is from Colorado Springs, Colorado and is in 11th grade at Widefield High School. His favorite parts of the school day are lunch and P.E. He is greatly looking forward to attending his Junior Prom this year. Tyreese comes from a large, blended family, including his Great Dane named Vanna and Chihuahua named Tiana. He loves spending time with his 4-year-old and 1-year-old nephews. He enjoys listening to music, singing and dancing and isn’t shy about showing off his moves. Tyreese spends as much time as possible outdoors, fishing and camping with family and friends. The past 3 years, he has participated in the Challenger Baseball Program and also participates in the city wide Special Olympics events. His sense of humor and big smile bring pure joy to every room he enters.
Timothy is 31 years old and lives in Jackson, Wyoming. He is outgoing, funny, and hardworking. When Tim was in the 5th grade, his family moved to Vail, Colorado where he participated in the skiing events at the Special Olympics. He was also a Special Olympics Global Messenger. In 2003, Tim and his family moved back to Jackson where attended the culinary program at Central Wyoming College which enabled him to hone his excellent cooking skills. Tim currently works at Vertical Harvest, an indoor hydroponic greenhouse that provides vegetables to local restaurants, markets, and employees including adults with different abilities. Tim has traveled to Paris, London, Thailand and Mexico. He lives in his own apartment and loves living independently.
Kylee is 24 years old and lives in Arvada, Colorado with her mom and dad. She is a great big sister to her brother Dylan. She enjoys going to A Brighter Community four days a week to continue developing her living skills, exercising, making friends and getting out into the community. Kylee loves kids, cooking, bowling, going to the movies, spending time with family and friends, reading and listening to music. She is a huge country music fan! Dancing with the Stars is one of her favorite TV shows along with any show on the Food Network. Kylee hopes to one day become a pastry chef or to work with her friends at ABC as a paraprofessional.
Sheena is 32 years old and lives in Centennial, Colorado. She is known to her family and friends as “The Dancing Queen” because she can shake it all night long! Along with dancing, Sheena loves to sing and rocks the crowd with her rendition of “Wild Thing”. She is constantly entertaining others with her jokes and making others laugh. When Sheena is not entertaining, she is busy with friends, bowling, going to movies, working at her day center, going to camps, swimming laps, and basically being more active than the average human being. Her favorite vacation is anything that involves Disney. She can never get too much Mickey Mouse!
Andre Dewayne Jr., a.k.a., AJ, is 11 years old and lives in Aurora, Colorado. He has two older sisters Kiarah and Kyla and a big brother Michael. He was born with a congenital heart defect, and when he was 3 months old, Dr. Mitchell fixed his heart and now he has a HAPPY HEART!! AJ loves when his daddy plays around with him, and reads him bedtime stories. He also enjoys riding horses, swimming, playing with balls, hanging out with his cousins, and sitting in the back yard with his dog Pepper. AJ is funny, animated and loves music and dancing. He has participated in four 5k’s, and has so much charisma that it’s hard not to smile when you are around him.
Carly is a 10-year-old fourth grader at Eisenhower Elementary in Boulder, Colorado. She has great friends and many interests including participating in Global’s Dare to Cheer Camp, music, dancing, swim team with Special Olympics and her neighborhood pool, skiing with Ignite Adaptive Sports, playing piano, and eating chocolate ice cream! This past spring, her competitive cheerleading team, Cheer Central Suns, won a National Championship in Dallas, Texas and earned a bid to compete at World Championships in Orlando, Florida! Simply put, Carly is a ray of sunshine who brings smiles, warmth, joy and love to all she encounters!
Alexandra, “Alex” or “Zy”, as her friends and family call her is 19 years old and lives in Cherry Hills Village, Colorado. She wakes up every morning happy and delighted, asking “where are we going?” 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 to go to the doctor, 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.
Marcus is a 27-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 play, 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
Thomas “Walt” is 14 years old and lives in Omaha, Nebraska. Walt’s passions lie in the field of music. He plays drums in his middle school band and incorporates lively dance moves to enhance his musical experience. Walt also enjoys basketball, swimming, volleyball and running track. His hobbies include boating, vacationing with family members and all interactions with his sister Lily. Walt’s infectious laugh, happy demeanor and concern for others endears him to all that he encounters!
Kirsten is 9 years old and lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado. She has an older sister, Kaydence and a younger brother, Kaleb, and takes full advantage of getting to be both a little and big sister. Kirsten is a Denver Broncos Junior Cheerleader and absolutely loves cheering on the Broncos! She also loves to swim, dance and sing. She is a complete girly-girl and loves all things that sparkle. Kirsten is the perfect mix of strong-willed and compassionate, and brings complete joy everywhere she goes. Her family feels incredibly blessed to have her in their lives and is grateful that she opened them up to a community so full of love and potential.
Sahriyah is a 10-year-old with a heart of gold. She is in the 5th grade at Asbury elementary school in Denver, Colorado where her favorite subjects are math and reading. Sahriyah has an older sister whom she loves to sing and choreograph dances with, and an older brother whom she loves to wrestle and play football with. Sahriyah loves to ride her bike, travel, and swim. Sahriyah is a girly-girl who loves fashion and she wants to be a doctor when she grows up.
Madeline is a unique 20-year-old model from Brisbane, Australia. Madeline has been dubbed by the press as not only a Super Model, but “the world’s most famous model with Down syndrome.” This incredibly courageous, beautiful, and talented young woman has had astonishing success in the short time she has been modeling and has captured media attention both in Australia and around the world. As with many people with Down syndrome, Madeline struggled with her weight for a long time, and in early 2015, she decided to get healthy and chase after her dreams which included dance. She lost close to 45 pounds, and is now changing society’s perception of people with disabilities, one photo shoot at a time.
Emma is an 8-year-old third grader from Erie, Colorado. She has one brother, Kieran, and one sister, Sofia, with whom she shares a single birthday – Emma is a triplet. She is the first person in the household to rise each morning as she pops out of bed eager to discuss the plan for the day. She brings that joy and enthusiasm to everything she does, whether it’s cheerleading with Dare to Cheer, dancing ballet with Be Beautiful Be Yourself, or putting on musical shows for the family. Her love of music was clear from a very early age and continues to grow; she brought the house down with her rendition of “Hard Knock Life” at her school’s talent show. Emma is quick with her wit, brings a smile to everyone she meets. She continuously touches our hearts every day.
Kate is a sassy, determined, loveable 7-year-old. She adores her 12-year-old brother, Luke, who raised $478 selling cherries to support the Global DS Foundation. Kate is in 1st grade in a fully inclusive classroom at St. Catherine School in Seattle where she is thriving. Kate loves to ski, swim, dance, bike, and kayak, do gymnastics, play with friends and tell knock-knock jokes. She has travelled to more than 15 different countries around the world and spreads joy wherever she goes.
Kate attends 2nd grade at St. Catherine School in Seattle and plays soccer, basketball, and is a Special Olympics Young Athlete. She enjoys skiing, swimming, dancing and acting. One of Kate’s favorite things to do is play with her older brother, Kirby III. She has modeled for Nordstrom, Iviva, and the Bellevue Collection. Kate is 8 years old now, but when she was only 15 months old she became a Global Ambassador in 2010. The Global Down Syndrome Foundation helps to ensure that Kate gets to live her life fully, which is exactly what she wants!