Amy is a mom to her only child who has Down Syndrome. She loves being able to share it all; the ups, the downs, and everything in between on what it’s like being a biracial family raising a child with Down Syndrome. She is also passionate about motivating those around her and has a series on Instagram called, “Motivational Minute.”
Michelle Ressa Aventajado left New York fourteen years ago to make a life in Manila, Philippines with her husband Nino and their then 3 children.
No stranger to working with children and adults with IDD, she volunteered all throughout her high school and college career in ARC while she was still living in Orange County, New York, and after she received her teaching degree from SUNY College at Cortland. She even pursued her yoga certification years later in Manila as a yoga teacher for children and adults of all abilities.
It wasn’t until the birth of her fourth child that she truly understood the necessity of inclusion and the volunteer work that she was committed to ever since her adolescence. Evangelina’s birth suddenly gave more meaning to her relocation to South East Asia. It was as if everything suddenly made sense, and the work she needed to do became even more important.
Attending the first training and open house for Best Buddies Philippines in 2014 would eventually put Michelle on a path where she would be encouraged to make more of a difference in the community by collaborating with other organizations and foundations. Together she hopes to further social inclusion, not just for her daughter, but for all of the children and adults in the Philippines like her daughter.
Through her blog Momma ‘N Manila, her volunteer work, motherhood, and working as Executive Director of Best Buddy Philippines, she is confident that she is doing her part in this world to further social inclusion for individuals of all abilities.
Facebook: Momma ‘N Manila
Jami is a wildly popular (probably the most famous) instagram model ever. A serial entrepreneur and leader of a multi-million dollar business built on consistency, community, authenticity and courage, and she self-describes herself as an “Awkward Type F.” Her humor helps her and her audience maneuver through tough topics. Navigating life with her wonderful husband, Mark, and 4 unruly children is her greatest love and challenge. Jami is passionate about not doing laundry, hoarding socks, and teaching women how to find themselves again, after getting lost along the way.
If you are within the Down Syndrome community you will recognize Mercedes from being a co-host of, “the Lucky Few Podcast.”
Mercedes prides herself on the experiences that we all know we have, and rarely share with honesty. She is known on the show to “do you” as you need to, and always use your intuition to determine what’s best for your person with DS. She formerly worked vocationally in the different abilities industry for 10 years, and since 2018 has co-founded the Dear Mom Conference, creating a space for moms raising a person with Down Syndrome to find rest, community, and inspiration at her event.
She is wife to Any Lara, producer of “the Lucky Few Podcast.” They have 3 children; Sunflower, Rhodes, and Shepard and might be the most vividly beautiful person you could ever meet.
Melanie Dimmitt is a freelance art, lifestyle, and business journalist living in Sydney, Australia. She’s written for titles such as the Age, The Sydney Morning Herald, Collective Hub Magazine, Mama Disrupt Magazine, Mindful Parenting Magazine, Mamamia and Broadsheet, and has created content for Canva and Smack Bang Designs.
Find her debut book, “Special: Antidotes to the Obsessions that Come with a Child’s Disability” here.
You may have heard Victoria on “Finding Happy the Podcast” speaking with Sinead about the power of love.
After her 6-month old daughter, Gwendolyn, was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) Type 1, Victoria and her husband created the Gwendolyn Strong Foundation to do something in the face of nothing. In the last ten years, GSF has raised over 4 million dollars to fund research around the globe, including the FDA-approved gene replacement therapy (known as Zolgensma) that has gone on to transform SMA and potentially other disease. Victoria has worked to get federal legislation passed, newborn and carrier screening federally endorsed, and provided financial support to 600 SMA and rare disease families. She also created NEVER GIVE UP, a nonprofit apparel brand that is made to inspire courage and kindness. Now, the foundation is building Gwendolyn’s Playground, the first inclusive playground in Santa Barbara County, so all children can experience the fundamental childhood joy of community play. Visit www.NeverGiveUp.org to learn more.