My wife Angela Jarvis-Holland will be stepping down as Executive Director of NW Disability Support, the umbrella organization for Northwest Down Syndrome Association and ABI Community. Last week I was helping her clear out her office and we ran across a collection of photos from the many socials, trainings. and events we have been a part of over the years. It was such a joy to see the smiling faces of the many kids and parents that been a part of this organization for so many years.
As we move into spring, it’s a good time to reflect back on the amazing journey we have experienced as a family over the last two decades. Daniel was just three years old when we became involved with the Northwest Down syndrome Parent Support Group, which later became NWDSA, and then expanded to become NW Disability Support.
In 2002, we hosted our first summer social/picnic at Oaks Park, and our first Buddy Walk at the Rose Quarter. That November, we held our first Reciprocal Learning Community Parent/Professional training. Those early friendships and collaborations laid the foundation for many years of amazing accomplishments, and it’s really those relationships that motivated us to work together over these 20 years to build a better future for people with disabilities.
To name all of the amazing projects that were launched over the years would take pages, but they have all been inspired by the love of our children, with the goal of meeting real needs, and programs based on our core values and built on best practices. Our whole family has been a part of this passion project—Angela, Daniel, Quinn, and I. In many ways the growth and work of NW Disability Support parallels the growth in our own family.
As we close this letter, Daniel wanted to share some thoughts about his experience. “I like the Buddy Fest which is fun and I got to be a speaker. The Youth Group was hard, but I learned skills about being more independent. I like seeing my family work hard and I'm getting better at setting my goals. The work has made me a good person and I like my friends from NWDSA/ABI. NWDSA/ABI made college open for me at PSU, and I hope more advocacy will let me to take classes at Community College.”