Emma Frome and Daniel Jarvis-Holland attended their first advocacy rally with us as small children 19 years ago in Salem, Oregon as we protested cuts to early intervention.
As our children have grown up together, we’ve worked with many others to create a powerful social change organization and to raise our children to be kind and inclusive human beings.
Dan enjoys media studies and experiences Down syndrome, and Emma loves the outdoors and is a non-traditional learner. Over the years both have developed a strong sense of justice and are powerful advocates. They’ve volunteered, attended, and presented at numerous rallies, events, and conferences together.
Five years ago, we asked our children what they wanted for their future, encouraging them to envision no limits. A shared dream was college. Emma had choices and options; there was no college option for Dan in Oregon.
They both care deeply about inclusion in college and this created the charge to advocate for options for all students. In 2014, at a meeting with Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), Dan pounded his fist on the conference table and said, “I want to go to college!”
In 2014, Dan and Emma stood together at a presentation at Portland Community College. Behind them stood a banner, captioned: “We share a dream of going to college.”
Emma and Dan were key founding youth members of our organization’s Think College Coalition and the partnership with Portland State University that helped develop the first four-year college option in Oregon for students with intellectual disabilities, as well as our Social Justice Youth Program.
Dan & Emma standing together in their Portland State University (PSU) shirts.
We have been alongside each other watching our kids grow and change, and we are stronger for having mutual support on this journey. Our kids are also stronger for having each other and their beliefs in kindness, justice and their own worth. Celebrating our successes with joy, real dreams, hard work and community matter. Our wider community still has a lot of work to do to catch up with our kids potential. Dan is still advocating to expand options to community college and an active member of the Social Justice Youth Program.
A new generation is following Emma and Dan inspired by their work.