Down Syndrome Network Arizona Receives Grant From Thunderbirds Charities to Support Individuals and Families Touched by Down Syndrome

Down Syndrome Network Arizona (DSNetwork) is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a generous grant from Thunderbirds Charities to further its mission of educating, supporting, and advocating for individuals and families in the Down syndrome community.

From the initial diagnosis through school-aged years and beyond, individuals with Down syndrome and their families face a wide range of challenges and find themselves immersed in an ever-changing, often complicated journey to learn how to best support and nurture their loved ones. Down Syndrome Network helps every step of the way thanks to charitable support.

There are an estimated 9,000 people here in Arizona with Down syndrome, which is a naturally occurring chromosomal arrangement that has always been a part of the human condition and usually causes varying degrees of learning and developmental delays and associated medical issues. Many of the health conditions are now treatable, so most people with Down syndrome lead a healthy life. Life expectancy for people with Down syndrome has increased dramatically – from 25 years in 1983 to 60 years today.

DSNetwork has been a vital resource for the Arizona Down syndrome community for over 20 years, providing valuable information, resources, programs, and events that enhance the quality of life for individuals with Down syndrome and their families. With the majority of in-person activities centered in Maricopa County, DSNetwork serves thousands of individuals with Down syndrome from birth to adulthood across all races and socioeconomic levels, as well as thousands of other people touched by Down syndrome, including caregivers, health care professionals, and community members.

The grant from Thunderbirds Charities will enable DSNetwork to implement its strategic plan, focusing on three impactful initiatives. First, the organization aims to promote lifelong health and improve the overall quality of life for individuals with Down syndrome. Second, DSNetwork seeks to support caregivers throughout their journey of raising and caring for a person with Down syndrome, providing guidance and resources from before birth through the aging process. Finally, DSNetwork aims to raise awareness of Down syndrome in Arizona communities, educate professionals, and advocate for individuals with Down syndrome.

DSNetwork offers a diverse range of programs tailored to serve all age groups within the Down syndrome community. These programs include support for new parents at the time of diagnosis, opportunities for young children to play and parents to connect through the Club Xtra program, community-based activities for tweens and teens through Tweens & Teens UP, and a program called Xcell, which assists individuals and families in navigating the challenges of adulthood. Additionally, DSNetwork provides fitness and exercise programs, therapeutic gardening initiatives, seasonal celebrations, educational webinars, and an annual fundraising awareness walk.

“We are immensely grateful to Thunderbirds Charities for their support and recognition of the important work we do at DSNetwork,” said Jennifer O’Connell, Executive Director at DSNetwork. “This grant will significantly enhance our ability to provide essential services to individuals with Down syndrome and their families, empowering them to lead fulfilling and productive lives. We look forward to further strengthening our programs, expanding our reach, and making a lasting impact on the Down syndrome community.”

Thunderbirds Charities, the charitable arm of The Thunderbirds, has been a driving force in improving the lives of children and families in the Greater Phoenix Metropolitan Area since its establishment in 1986. Through its annual grant program, Thunderbirds Charities supports organizations dedicated to at-risk youth and families, community outreach, education, and initiatives that enhance the lives of individuals with physical and mental challenges.

“We are thrilled to support the incredible work being done by DSNetwork,” said Pat Williams, President at Thunderbirds Charities. “Their commitment to serving the Down syndrome community aligns perfectly with our mission, and we are confident that this grant will help make a positive difference in the lives of individuals with Down syndrome and their families.”

The grant received from Thunderbirds Charities will allow DSNetwork to expand its reach and continue its impactful programming efforts on behalf of individuals with Down syndrome. Through this partnership, DSNetwork aims to create a more inclusive and supportive community for those touched by Down syndrome.

Down Syndrome Network Arizona (DSNetwork)

This grant is part of the Spring 2023 cycle. View a list of all Recent Grantees.