The mission for devenio, inc. is at the core of my heart- collaboration. I have been on a journey with my daughter, who happens to have Down syndrome, for the past twelve years. It has been wonderful, exhausting and eye opening. When you have a child with a disability you are initiated into a group of people who embrace you, take care of you and most importantly accept you sight unseen. It can all start with a phone call or an email- "WELCOME, what do you need?". There is nothing more powerful than that acceptance in a time when all is uncertain, and you question so many things about yourself and your life. As I think back on what has made my journey so powerful, it is the connections and collaboration of people surrounding me. It has been the key to successful milestones for me as a parent, both personally and also as a tool to support my children and family.
Collaboration does not need to happen in a conference room or an office. It happens on the playground, in our living rooms and kitchens, at community events and coffee shops. When two or more people get together with a common goal in mind to accomplish, they collaborate. I have found that this has been the most productive and positive way to engage with my friends, colleagues and associates to figure something out. "How can I get my daughter to use her fork?, How can I get my daughter to enunciate more effectively?, How can I get the school system to modify her classwork? , What is the best way to teach her classmates about her disability?, What programs are available for her after high school?, How can I teach my daughter online safety? How do I know what we need for a trust for her?". The list goes on and on, and out of these collaborative conversations come best practices and information that we then share with our other friends, new parents or teachers and/or colleagues.
Devenio, inc. was born of this philosophy. No one group in the disabilities community can be EVERYTHING to EVERYONE. That is why many specialize their mission to a key area- advocacy, education, research, etc. yet there are so many gaps that can be filled if we were to work together. I spent the last seven years as the president of a Down syndrome group and I met so many wonderful people from other organizations (not all in the disabilities community) that had so many fantastic ideas- but resources were always scarce to our group or theirs and it was limiting in what we could do. Devenio, inc. provides the vehicle to accomplish these bigger and needed ideas/programs/events that require one organization to drive the event, program or initiative on behalf of or with multiple groups. Devenio, inc. launched it's first collaborative effort in 2014 with eight Down syndrome groups to create a race for awareness in Washington, DC and is looking forward to many, many more initiatives with groups from all disability groups to bring our communities together. www.race4respect.com to register.