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Well she did it again!! Chloe Kaalund won State Record on Dead Lift – 308.6 lbs and Bench Press – 166.34 lbs in Las Vegas. Congratulations Chloe for living your Life Without Limits. Everyone here at UCP are so proud of all your hard work.

Andi & Lucky

Congratulations Andrea “Andi” Rueda (left) a new Board Member for Valley Mountain Regional Center. Andi and her longtime friend, Robert Grimsley (right) both attend Program Without Walls (PWW) our community integration program.  Robert teaches advocacy classes and reads to his fellow peers.  Both Andi and Robert are signors for PWW’s advocacy account where donated funds are managed by clients.  The advocacy account provides funds that are used for daily activities, community outings decided upon by the clients of PWW. 2/11/2016




They’ll never walk alone

Brighter Side of Down Syndrome ready for Saturday stroll

By Lori Gilbert

October 04, 2012

Record Staff Writer

As their daughters worked on a poster together that will thank sponsors at Saturday’s Buddy Walk, Carrie Norris heard fellow mom Kathy Werner talk about her daughter’s job at United Cerebral Palsy.

“She does housekeeping, cleans the break room, takes care of the recycling,” Werner explained.

“How did she get that? I’ve been trying to find something for Sara,” Norris asked.

That’s prompted a dialogue between the two mothers of Down syndrome children, both of whom are in their 20s.

It’s exactly the kind of interaction the Brighter Side of Down Syndrome, host of the Buddy Walk, intended to create.

It just happened to take place at a poster-painting party for the seventh annual Buddy Walk, the only fundraising event the organization holds each year.

Saturday’s one-mile walk at Micke Grove Regional Park in Lodi includes the walk, lunch, dance contest, bounce houses, music, a raffle and more. Pre-registration begins at 10:30 a.m. Proceeds – raised from donations and sponsorships – pay for monthly activities for Down children of all ages. Last year’s walk raised $27,000.

“It’s so amazing how many people really care about our kids,” said Norris, a mother of three whose middle daughter Sara, 22, was born with Down syndrome. “Every time I experience it, it touches me.”

Acceptance, and expectations of children with Down syndrome have changed in 22 years, Norris said.

Schools mainstream Down children, and as they grow, they are given opportunities to work or volunteer. Some even live independently.

Werner’s daughter, 27-year-old Sara, works at UCP, volunteers at the Homeless Shelter thrift store and paints canvas bags that she sells at events such as the Lodi Street Faire.

As families gathered more than 50 strong for pizza and poster making on a recent Friday night, Sarah Werner taught Sara Norris and Sarah White, a 15-year-old from Escalon, how to make stained-glass-looking images on their poster. The trio drew and shared stories, teasing one another about boyfriends and other topics that make girls laugh. The older two had attended proms held for those with special needs, and Sarah White had been invited to Escalon High School’s prom.

“I never thought she’d go,” her mom, Sheri White, said.

Sarah White’s social calendar at Escalon High, where she’s a sophomore, is aided by the school’s Friends Helping Friends club, in which students reach out to those with special needs.

Outreach of a different kind is what brought the Whites to Stockton after experiencing last year’s Buddy Walk.

“You feel like you’re a part of something so special that it doesn’t matter if you’ve never met anybody before,” Sheri White said. “You become instantly bonded to them because of their special child. You’re all part of one big family.”

Sharing the ups and downs of being a part of that family is the idea behind the Brighter Side of Down Syndrome, founded locally by Jean Wiltz seven years ago. Before, there were organizations to support parents of special needs children, but nothing devoted specifically to Down parents.

Parents of young children – babies and toddlers – represent the largest number of BSODS members, because they tend to have the most questions, Norris said.

To address concerns, the organization has specialists at its regular meetings covering such concerns as oral hygiene and orthopedics. An attorney explained how to set up a legal trust for a Down child.

The meetings also are devoted to planning social activities for their kids, who range from babies to young adults. Those outings are invaluable, Sheri White said.

“It’s just bringing your children in with all the children and letting them bond with their peers,” Sheri White said. “It’s having that group time where they’re all accepted.”

Contact reporter Lori Gilbert at (209) 546-8284 or lgilbert@recodnet.com.

Buddy Walk

What: The Brighter Side of Down Syndrome seventh annual one-mile walk, when friends, families and buddies are invited to join Down children for the walk and enjoy lunch, bounce houses, music, dancing and more

When: 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday

Where: Micke Grove Regional Park, Lodi

Admission: $5 parking fee

Information: (209) 598-3441

The Spirit of Inpendence

Fair spotlights entrepreneurship of developmentally disabled.

By: Keith Reid/Record Staff Writer

Kate Daugherty wants to make your life easier, so the 24-year old Bear Creek High School graduate has started an errand service.  She’ll take care of your pets, deliver your groceries or house sit for you.  She’ll water your plants and pick up your mail.

“Holiday errands got you frazzled? Its KLD Errand Service to the rescue”, is her most recent marketing pitch.  The irony is that for most of her life, people have thought they needed to help lift some of the life’s burdens off Daugherty’s shoulders.  Daugherty has cerebral palsy, which affects her nervous system.  She started the business as a way to earn extra money, and she’s saving the tips she earns from running errands so she eventually will be able to move out of her parent’s home.  Her business was on display at the Valley Mountain Regional Center’s Microbusiness Fair for entrepreneurs who have developmental disabilities.  “I have a job now, at United Cerebral Palsy, and I’m hoping this can help me make enough to pay for rent,” she said.  “I really can have my independence.”

Friday’s Microbusiness Fair offered an opportunity for 22 developmentally disabled residents or groups to display their entrepreneurial skills.  Along with Daugherty’s errand service, other businesses looked to attract customers who need computer repairs, paper-shredding services or custom-made clothing.  Justin Sanborn, 26 for example, sold cookbooks with his favorite recipes.  Byran Smith will fix your computer through his company, The Computer Whisperers.  Greeting cards and other craft-based products also were on display.  Stockton resident Sarah Werner, 26, sells custom-made tote bags and sacks featuring her own art work.  The business is called Sarah’s Saks.  “Business is good,” said Werner, who wore an apron displaying the prices for each product:  $11 for an emergency “sak” or pet pouch.  A smaller pouch or “every-day sak” is $5.  Werner’s mother, Kathy said her daughter is inspired by watching movies and drinking soda.  Elsewhere at the fair, a Lodi Unified School District workability class sold homemade dog biscuits.

Valley Mountain Regional Center Executive Director Richard Jacobs said this is the second year of the fair, and it is in place to encourage the developmentally disabled to reveal their entrepreneurial spirit and to find ways to supplement their Supplemental Security Income.  It is an initiative spearheaded by state officials, Jacobs said.  “Just because somebody has a developmental disability, it doesn’t mean they have to stay home and watch daytime television,” Jacobs said.  Daugherty agrees completely.  She prefers to be out on the run, shopping or pet sitting.  “If you need someone to take care of your dog, I will care for it like a baby,” she said.  “Kennels don’t do that, I will.”  Spoken like an entrepreneur with a well-crafted sales pitch.  Independence Fair helps entrepreneurs supplement SSI benefits.

Kate has since gained full independence by moving out of her parent’s home.  Sarah Werner is employed by UCP also.

Who or What is UCP?

An Amazing Father & Son – Inspirational Story


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