Author: Casie Schlueter, DSA Parent Outreach Chair
I had my son Vollen in April, 7 years ago. They did not have the testing they have now, so we found out after he was born that he had Down syndrome. It was a huge shock, but he was our baby and we loved him no matter what.
I knew I wanted to get involved in the Down Syndrome Alliance of the Midlands right away. My very first mom’s meeting that I attended was Saturday, September 19th 2009 (Vollen was almost 5 months old). I LOVED my first meeting and hit it off so well with the moms that were there. I said in my personal blog post that, “I have a feeling we are all going to be great friends the rest of our lives and go through everything with our kids together!!! It’s so nice to talk with other moms who are going through the same things you are. We have a special bond already.”
From the feelings that I had from those meetings, I knew I wanted to give that special feeling to other moms. I started out taking over leading the mom’s group even before I was on the board.
On Tuesday, January 4th, 2011 (Vollen was 2 ¾ years old) I became the Parent Outreach Chair on the DSA board. This December my time on the board comes to an end (for now). I will continue to be the head of the moms group and we will continue to have meetings and night outs as usual.
I have been on the board and involved with DSA for a long time. I tell everyone this all the time, but my favorite thing about DSA is the mom’s facebook page. The reason I love it so much is because all the moms can be involved even if they can’t make it to the meetings or events. They can always get answers to questions they have that they need help on. All of our moms are so caring and helpful. They want to help out other moms who are going through the same things they once struggled with. With it being my favorite thing, it also frustrates me that there are moms out there in our area that haven’t joined our group. I know they could benefit so much and find such a huge support system that they didn’t even know they needed.
My other most favorite thing about DSA is our Education Series. This is the best thing in my opinion that DSA has done. The only thing better than connecting with other moms/families in our area, is being taught by experts from around the country that specialize in Down syndrome related topics. I just don’t understand why there is not standing-room-only seating when we bring these nationally known experts into our city to speak to us at NO CHARGE to the parents!!!!! I have learned so much since the beginning. I just wish everyone in our area would make it a priority to get to these.
I just want to thank you all for being so wonderful and I hope that in my time as the Parent Outreach Chair that you felt welcomed with open arms and some of your fears were reduced or eliminated. I wanted nothing more than to help parents feel like they were not alone in this journey. I hope I succeeded.
I will see you at the next moms meeting or Down Syndrome Education Series!