Thursday, December 17, 2009

20 Volunteers with the most hours logged at DSI...

I just wanted to take a moment to say thank you to the many volunteers who work so hard to make Down Syndrome Indiana such a wonderful organization! I would like to offer a special thank you to those of you that submit your hours to the office for tracking. Based on those hours, the following 20 volunteers have logged the most hours volunteering with Down Syndrome Indiana! Please pay special attention to those volunteers with a * after their name. These volunteers are self advocates and I think it is important to recognize the many contributions that individuals with Down syndrome make to Down Syndrome Indiana and their communities as a whole.....

Angie Cain*
Jessica Green*
Dee Sheda
Ellen Kempski*
Joel Persinger*
Joe Meares
Dominique Lewis*
Patricia Finkley
Jan Huffman
Vickie Hartman
Dr. Schreiner
Katie Shaw*
Marty Mason*
David Wood
Angie Everton
Rob Morgan
Libby Sheda
Morgan Sheda
Drew Marsh
Timothy McGinnis

Thank you again to all the Down Syndrome Indiana volunteers!

Happy Holidays,

Lisa Tokarz-Gutierrez, Executive Director

Thursday, December 10, 2009

On Servant Leadership....

A servant leader can be defined as someone that:

… believes their primary mission is to serve the needs of their constituents;

…measures their effectiveness in terms of their ability to help others and not just a bottom line;

…sees themselves as working for the group as a whole instead of seeking individual recognition;

…is self sacrificing and humble, always using their talents to help elevate a group;

…is one that not only develops budgets and strategic plans but also helps to develop people, giving them an opportunity to gain new skills and shine in their own way;

While this definition describes every Down Syndrome Indiana board member, there is one in particular that I would like to recognize and that is current DSI board President, Steve Simpson. Steve has been President since 2005 and announced his desire to resign from the Presidency earlier this year. During his term, the organization has come incredibly far! I remember being present at a board meeting several years ago when the question was raised that if IDSF were a car and you looked under the hood, would you really see a well oiled/ well maintained vehicle? Or, might you be disappointed with what you saw? I don’t have the answer to that question but, I am so proud to say that if that question were posed today, the answer would be an easy, we may not be a fine tuned machine yet but we are certainly always striving for constant improvement to reach that ultimate goal of excellence! Steve, has taken us from the Indiana Down Syndrome Foundation to Down Syndrome Indiana and what we are today. Where there was not one before, we now have a clear mission to enhance the lives of individuals with Down syndrome. Our strategic plan serves as the roadmap for the work that staff does. An organized internal structure, an amazing working/ functioning and evolving board, as well as the best volunteers any organization could ask for, serve as our compass. Our programs and successful events, like our Holiday Party and Summer Picnic, where families come together and make needed connections serve as the vehicle to get us where we want to go. In short, Steve has helped develop DSI into a sound and professionally run organization that truly believes in enhancing the lives of individuals with Down syndrome. He is absolutely to be commended for everything he has done. So, to my mentor, my coach, my supervisor and my friend, ….. Thank you!

During the November board meeting, our board voted in a new President, Jeff Huffman, that will take office beginning January 1st, 2010.

Steve, again you are leaving us in a place that is much better than when you joined it. In my opinion, that is the true mark of a leader. It is my hope that DSI can continue the legacy and the charge that you are leaving with us.

Dedicated to enhancing the lives of individuals with Down syndrome,

Lisa Tokarz-Gutierrez, Executive Director

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Tis the Season to be thankful...

I would like to take a moment to express my sincere gratitude to the Down Syndrome Indiana 2009 Buddy Walk® sponsors. Our wonderful event could not have been possible without your continued support and dedication. The 2009 sponsors were as follows:

The Russell and Natalie Best Charitable Fund
Gordon Plumbing and Indy Portables
Montgomery Aviation
The Lyle Foundation
Beaty Construction
Carmel Pediatrics
First Class Lawncare
Irrigation Plus
Riley Children’s Hospital
Dr. Carol McKown, DDS
Midwest Orthotics
Noble of Indiana
WestPoint Financial Group
Speech Pathology Services

Again, thank you for all you do to support our families!

Dedicated to enhancing the lives of individuals with Down syndrome,

Lisa Tokarz-Gutierrez, Executive Director