About Us
Contact Us
Group Sponsored Events
Suggested Reading
Sites of Interest
The United Way
Special Olympics
Events Calendar

Thank you for your interest in the spotlight section of our site. This area will be updated as items of interest are brought to our attention.

Information contained in this section do not neccessarily represent the opinions or beliefs of the Central Iowa Up With Down family support group or its members and is provided a a resource only.


Do you need a special gift for someone? Please consider ordering from one of these web sites!

Creeksidecookiesandmore.org   and  simplyadorableblankets.org

These companies were created by two moms each with a child with Down syndrome. They provide employment opportunities for young people with disabilities, helping them become independent, productive members of their communities.

Best Buddies

Best Buddies ® is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to enhancing the lives of people with intellectual disabilities by providing opportunities for one-to-one friendships and integrated employment.

Founded in 1989 by Anthony Kennedy Shriver, Best Buddies is a vibrant, international organization that has grown from one original chapter to more than 1,300 middle school, high school, and college campuses across the country and internationally. Best Buddies programs engage participants in each of the 50 United States. We have accredited international programs on six continents with additional country programs under active development. Our six formal programs – Best Buddies Middle Schools, High Schools, Colleges, Citizens, e -Buddies® and Jobs – will positively impact more than 350,000 individuals this year. Best Buddies also is systematically implementing our 2010 initiative that will witness the organization's continued significant growth, both domestically and overseas. Best Buddies volunteers annually contribute services to the community that equate to more than $70 million USD.

Even though Best Buddies has advanced tremendously in our short existence, many areas of the country and many regions of the world still lack programs to help people with intellectual disabilities become part of mainstream society. Our goal is to continue expanding nationwide and at the local community level, while more broadly engaging the global community through our programs.

Our Vision
People with intellectual disabilities are often excluded from society because of their differences. Best Buddies is determined to end social isolation for people with intellectual disabilities by establishing meaningful, lasting one-to-one friendships with their non-disabled peers. These friendships help increase self-esteem, confidence and the abilities of people with and without intellectual disabilities.Best Buddies envisions a world where people with intellectual disabilities are so successfully integrated into our schools, our workplaces and our general communities that our current efforts and services will be unnecessary. Until that vision becomes a reality, we will continue to educate middle school, high school and college students, community members, corporations, and employers about the emotional, functional and natural needs and abilities of people with intellectual disabilities.


Our Mission
The mission of Best Buddies is to enhance the lives of people with intellectual disabilities by providing opportunities for one-to-one friendships and integrated employment.

Our Goals
By 2010, Best Buddies will continue to build on its successful volunteer base in all 50 States, further expand its accredited international programs to 50 countries and annually engage more than 500,000 people worldwide.

There are 7 area high schools with Best Buddies chapters: Hoover, North, Dowling, Johnston, Roosevelt, Valley, and Waukee.  Chapters at SE Polk HS and Indianola HS are under development.  There are currently no middle school chapters in IA.

Here is a link that will take you to the Best Buddies website.




Parents say that drama training and employment opportunities in the entertainment industry provide life skills that go with their children into all aspects of their lives, both as children and adults. Many programs are growing across the U.S. providing training in the entertainment arts to children and adults with Down syndrome and other developmental disabilities.

Television and film that portrays individuals with Down syndrome and other  developmental disabilities provides a role model of inclusion to society making it a better world for individuals with disabilities.

In response to producers' calls for talent received by the Down Syndrome Association of Los Angeles, they have started a casting liaison service Heart & Halo Talent that includes children and adults with Down syndrome and other developmental disabilities across the U.S. and Canada.

 Down Syndrome Association of Los Angeles: http://www.dsala.org/

 Heart & Halo Talent: http://www.dsala.org/hh_talent.htm

 Performing Arts Studio West: http://www.pastudiowest.com/






Dakota's Pride is a heartwarming documentary about a father's search for the
truth about Down Syndrome. Tough questions are posed to and answered by a
noted Harvard Physician, and parents of children with Down Syndrome. The
answers are surprising and inspiring. In addition to being informative, this
documentary celebrates the successes that have been and can be achieved by
individuals with Down Syndrome.

Dakota's Pride has been aired on PBS and is a must see for anyone. This
family friendly director's cut has 45 minutes of bonus track footage and ten
extra minutes of running time.

"Informative and inspiring. . . It's wonderful to know that parents can be
so involved, educated, and determined to reach out and make a difference.
These people are giving many others hope."
'Dakota's Pride' is a truly inspiring tale! This is a feel-good
Universal Film Festival universalfilmfestival.com

"Dakota's Pride is a unique film that shows a side to Down Syndrome that is
rarely featured, and that is the hope and success that these individuals and
their families can experience in life."
Valerie M.B. VanDerSluis
Programming Director KTWU PBS ktwu.washburn.edu  

Lee Jones,Dakota Sagmiller,Dr Allen Crocker, Best Network, Pastor Adam
Hamiltion,O'Brian,Janie Foltz,Brian Skotko,Wagnon

Film Festivals:

Title #228034
Running time: 72 minutes
Format: DVD-R
Strong Love, by Bonnie Burt,is the story of world-class weight lifter Jon Shapiro and his childhood sweetheart Holly James, both of whom were born with Down syndrome.  This documentary follows the couple over the course of three years, starting with their decision to get married.  Their challenges, their triumphs, and their complex, sometimes surprising relationships with family and friends are at the heart of this inspiring film. 
56 minutes, dvd, 2007
Home video use only is $25 from filmmaker directly by personal check.  Contact: bb@bonnieburt.com 

Online price:  $29 plus $5 shipping with a credit card:  http://www.bonnieburt.com/movies/strong-love.html
For more information: bb@bonnieburt.com 


“The Child King”, a holiday feature motion picture starring Peter Johnson, a teenage actor born with Down syndrome, has been released on DVD.   The movie will be sold exclusively via the Internet at www.thechildking.com

“The Child King” tells the story of Jeremy West (Johnson) who takes his skeptical younger brother, Jarret, on a magical journey to the North Pole to prove Santa Claus is real.   The film has been lauded as “inspirational” by Special Olympics International, “heartwarming” by Best Buddies International and “a new holiday classic” by the Down Syndrome Association of Los Angeles.


Additionally, the picture has been endorsed by Exceptional Parent Magazine and the Coalition for Quality Children’s Media which evaluates and approves programs for families based on appeal, content and developmental benefits.  


“The Child King” features a holiday soundtrack with popular recording artists such as Martina McBride, Willie Nelson, Jessica Simpson, Randy Travis and Vince Gill.


All producer’s profits from DVD sales are being donated to the non-profit Child King Foundation.  The foundation administers funds and disburses grants to organizations, charities and individuals that assist those with intellectual disabilities.  


For more information visit www.thechildking.com or www.childkingfoundation.org.



Web Development By DWebware
Home Site Map Email