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Gifts : Mothers Reflect on How Children with Down Syndrome Enrich Their Lives

The Gifts Outreach program provides complimentary copies of Gifts to organizations which serve parents facing a new diagnosis of Down syndrome for their child, either prenatally or postnatally. We believe that the stories in the book provide a vital companionship and support for such parents.

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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

A Holiday Message from the CEO, also known as Daddy

“The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but rather it is too low and we reach it.” Michelangelo

Sometimes it seems like that cold night in February 2001 was such a long time ago and sometimes it seems like just last night. That was the night my life changed forever and took a very different direction. It was just an hour or so after our son Nash was born that the Neonatologist came into our hospital room to tell us that Nash had Down syndrome! I was at a loss for words and those of you that know me can assure people that never happens. “Down syndrome?” I asked. I had no idea what else to say or ask at the time as I had never really had any exposure to individuals with Down syndrome or any other intellectual disability. My only reference point was Corky on the television show “Life Goes On.” Well thank you, Chris Burke, because it was that reference point which made me realize in a very short time that things were going to be fine. Perhaps a bit different than I had planned. . . ok, maybe a lot different.

What I failed to realize at the time was not that my life would be different because of what Nash would not be able to accomplish, but that it would be very different through the discovery of what Nash and our family could accomplish. Many things happened that year that took us in some very different directions. My career changed, and Jan and I decided to come back home to Indiana. We both grew up in Delaware County — Jan in Gaston and me in Yorktown, and we knew we wanted to raise our son in Central Indiana. Most of us have experienced the phenomena of one door closing and another opening. Well, for the last few years that is the only way I can describe my experiences. After we moved back home, I became involved in the not-for-profit world, and Jan and I both became involved with the Indiana Down Syndrome Foundation and Dads Appreciating Down Syndrome here in the Indianapolis area. Life was good and Nash was awesome.

I was sitting at my desk one day when the phone rang. It was a good friend of mine that was calling to tell me about a job ad he had seen in the paper and thought I should look at it. It was the job ad for the President and CEO of Janus Developmental Services, Inc in Noblesville. I assumed that position on July 1, 2005.

“It’s About Abilities”

Janus was established in 1979 through a merger of The Hamilton County Association of Special Citizens and The Tipton County Association of Retarded Citizens. Both of these organizations were chartered by parents of children with intellectual disabilities and we have been proudly serving Hamilton and Tipton Counties ever since.

Janus annually serves over 800 families in our community through our First Steps Early Intervention program for infants and toddlers and our array of services for adults. Many of our programs and services have a funding source through the Indiana Medicaid and Medicaid Waiver system. This program only pays about 65% of what it actually costs to operate a successful program. It also limits the kinds of programming that is paid for through state and federal dollars.

Janus recently received our renewed three year accreditation from CARF which shows that our programs meet the strict processes and procedures set forth in this accreditation process. We also received accolades for our Transportation program for being one of the best in the United States. We are very proud of our programs at Janus but we have a problem. Currently there are programs that our families have requested or that we would like to offer to the community that we do not have the funding to start.

We need your support both personally and financially!

Thankfully, being a 501©3 not-for-profit corporation, we are able to raise money through our community to assist us with our growth. There are many ways to assist us with fulfilling our goals and dreams for the families we serve in our community. Volunteering for our fundraisers, becoming a member of our board of directors or serving on one of our committees are just a few examples. But sometimes the easiest way is to support us through your tax deductible donation. Maybe it’s $100, $500, $1000, $10,000 or a commitment of $20 per month for the next year. Or maybe your tax advisor is suggesting you use the donation option on your retirement account that the IRS is currently allowing. All of your donations will assist us in offering the programming families want and need in Hamilton and Tipton Counties.

I hope you will be able to help me allow Janus to offer the best services possible to individuals with physical and intellectual disabilities and their families in Hamilton and Tipton Counties.

Wishing you a wonderful Holiday Season,

Jeff Huffman Nash’s Dad….aka President and CEO

P.S. If you have any questions or would like to visit Janus for a tour so I can personally show you how your money would be spent, please call me directly at 317-773-8781 Ext 107 or email me at