12 Jun Spotlight On: Devon Adelman & Becky Ronan
A huge thank you to two of our tenured DSC board members who have stepped away from the board to focus on the many other great pursuits they are engaged in: Devon Adelman and Becky Ronan. You’ve likely encountered them already as they are often at the forefront of what is happening in our area, and we invite you to join us in applauding their significant contributions to our community.
How long did you serve on the Board of Directors of the Down Syndrome Community of Puget Sound?
Becky: 6 years
Devon: Being on the board of the DSC was an honor. Everyone was a delight to work with. I have been on the board for 3 years.
What was your purpose for applying to serve on the Board?
Becky: I wanted to help create connections for families who have a member with Down syndrome.
Devon: One of my purposes on the board as a self-advocate was to help show that we believe in the “nothing for us without us” motto.
What are some of the projects or work you’ve been involved in as a Board Member?
Becky: First Call Program, Puget Sound Buddy Walk, Learning Program, Fashion Show, and behind the scenes things such as database management, phone line and social media.
Devon: Some of my favorite things included taking notes and creating agendas.
Any favorite things you can share about the DSC or what the DSC does?
Becky: Creating connections for our members with Ds and their families through our Community Events, Educational Programs, and Outreach.
Do you have any particularly great moments or memories during your tenure on the Board?
Devon: One of my best memories was going to the NDSS Adult Summit in Detroit, where we presented on the importance of telling your story. Life is full of transitions: middle school to high-school, high-school to college, college to employment. No matter what life brings, you have to adapt and change to create your own story. I have shared my story with senators and legislators, and it makes an impact on systems. Our members can also do this and help build an inclusive future where we all belong.
Becky: Yes. Two that stand out have to do with our First Call Program which was my greatest passion. One time I was speaking on the phone with a mother who had just received news that the baby she was expecting would have Ds. The doctor that gave the diagnosis and her mother both left her with a feeling of despondency. When we got off the phone after 45 minutes, she said “thank you for giving me hope.”
The second was when I was invited to do a “Lunch and Learn” for some OBs, nurses, and genetic counselors to talk about the DSC and best practices for delivering a diagnosis. I suggested that when talking with an expectant mother to say that she has a “chance” of having a baby with Ds versus a “risk” of having a baby with Ds. This small difference can frame perceptions. Two hours after the meeting one of the doctors reached out to me and told me she had already started to use that language.
How would you encourage our members to get more involved in the DSC?
Devon: I encourage our members to get involved by attending events and volunteering. Being involved in the community gives you a voice, and our community a voice, so we can fight for our rights and our dreams.
Becky: Come to our events, join our programs, volunteer when you are able – it doesn’t have to be big like being on the board, it could be helping set-up for an event. I’ve made some really great friends while being on the board. Read our newsletters so you will be current on what we have going on, and come to the Puget Sound Buddy Walk at the Woodland Park Zoo on October 6th!
Any final thoughts as you leave the board for other pursuits?
Devon: I am looking forward to seeing the Down Syndrome Community of Puget Sound grow and influence more in the future!
On a side-note, Devon is a USA Special Olympics paddle board athlete who competed in the last year’s Special Olympics USA Games. A video, CityStream: Special Olympics in Seattle recently was a recipient of a Northwest Regional Emmy for Sports Program, One Time Special. Congratulations, Devon!