Our Organization

History

The Down Syndrome Association of West Michigan (DSAWM) was formed in 1985 by six couples who had children with Down syndrome. Their original aim was to provide support and share knowledge with other families.  Through the years, the goals of the Association have broadened to encompass advocacy, public awareness and the distribution of information relevant to Down syndrome.

Mission

The mission of the Association is to be a resource and advocacy organization promoting public awareness and supporting lifelong opportunities for individuals with Down syndrome and their families.

Who We Serve

The DSAWM serves twelve counties in West Michigan: Allegan, Barry, Ionia, Kalamazoo, Kent, Mecosta, Montcalm, Muskegon, Newaygo, Oceana, Ottawa and Van Buren. Our membership is comprised of over 300 individuals with Down syndrome and their families. We also service community partners, e.g., medical professionals, educators, therapists, disability organizations, etc.

Anyone who wishes to join the Association may become a member; however, only those living in the aforementioned counties receive full access to DSAWM programs and services.

Values

Empowerment – We provide resources, opportunities and knowledge in order to empower our members to realize their potential in life.

Service – We communicate with, and on behalf of, our members to provide resources and information based on individual needs.

Healthy Lifestyle – We promote healthy life choices and lifelong learning.

Inclusion – We strive to treat all people fairly and look for ways to connect our members with the community-at-large.

Continuous Improvement – We recognize that as times change, so do the needs of our members.  We never stop asking, “How can we be better?”

Video courtesy of Michael Lynn’s Animation Studio.