cowmunity spotlight nominee

march nominee

Dawn Buckley

National Down Syndrome Awareness Month

Imagine hearing the words “Down syndrome” as a new parent. Where would you turn? Bill and Dawn Buckley of Dyer, Indiana, turned to the Down Syndrome Association of Northwest Indiana and Chicagoland34 seven years ago after their daughter Addison was born.

As new parents, it was a scary, overwhelming and a confusing time. However, Dawn found “light” at their local nonprofit. Through working with Addi and volunteering with the association, she began to see a new direction. Dawn left her career in education and now devotes her life to improving lives of those around her with Down syndrome. Now a mother of two, Dawn, along with the board and so many community volunteers, has literally “rebuilt” the organization.

According to volunteer Stacey Killeen, Dawn and her husband Bill work tirelessly to provide up-to date resources, educational programs, and social events for the Down syndrome & special needs community. They led the initiative to expand from their current small facility to a new 5,000 square foot facility, opening in this year. They raised funds and recruited volunteers from the community in order to make this happen. Their drive in life is their beautiful daughter Addi, who was the spark to ignite this community to come together.

The new facility located at 2906 Highway Avenue in Highland, IN will provide a place for those with Down syndrome and other special needs to participate in Arts Abound (art class), Chit Chat (speech groups), Making Connections (one on one tutoring for math and reading), social groups, play dates, life-skill classes and many other opportunities. Even today, it is an uphill battle to fight for inclusion and acceptance. However, Dawn is building a legacy for everyone in Northwest Indiana and beyond who is impacted by Down syndrome and special needs.

january spotlight

When Lincoln Park resident Dennis Shea retired from a lengthy career in sales and management with Hershey Foods, he knew he needed more than golf clubs to get him through retirement…read more

april spotlight

Remember someone that inspired you as a child? Meet Mr. David Fox, Oak Lawn resident and Boy Scout Troop Leader 788 volunteer. Mr. Fox joined the scouting family in 1958 when he first became…read more

july spotlight

Gabriella Frank, an incoming seventh grader, started a program called “Books by the Beach” to help collect books and school supplies and donate them to less fortunate…read more

february spotlight

Remember grade school recess? It can be tough for some kids and a breeding ground for bullying. Four 4th graders from Lincolnwood School District decided “Buddy Benches” were one way to help…read more

may spotlight

Amanda Martinsen is a 5th grade teacher who designed and implemented a school-wide project where students to learn about physical and emotional conditions of disabled children…read more

august spotlight

Mrs. Tamara Polakowski, a 1st grade teacher at Madison Elementary in Lombard, goes above the call of a teacher’s duty by education outside of a textbook…read more

march spotlight

Imagine hearing the words “Down syndrome” as a new parent. Where would you turn? Bill and Dawn Buckley of Dyer, Indiana turned to the Down Syndrome Association of Northwest Indiana…read more

june spotlight

Gayla Smith is a military mom of two members of the United States Navy. Each year her and her husband host a backyard BBQ to simply raise money for Building for America’s Bravest…read more

september spotlight

When Cathleen Aquino isn’t working as a NICU nurse, she volunteers with Children’s Oncology Services improving the life of children diagnosed with cancer…read more

rewarding great individuals

Each month, meatheads will select one person who exemplifies the company’s standards of determination, hustle & hard work. If you know someone who demonstrate the meatheads values, please let us know!

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