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Our Daughter Dylan is a happy, confident young lady. She also has Down Syndrome. When Dylan was a sophomore in high school, we started to think seriously about her future after graduation. Would she have the basic skills necessary to live in a home of her own? With housemates of her own choosing rather than people she’d just been thrown with? With supportive supervision that was there for the long term? Would she be able to work, contribute to society, and feel the pride that comes from these things? Would she be able to find friends and have some kind of meaningful life?
In our search for answers, we found many well-meaning people. But their programs seemed only to consist of lifelong babysitting. The homes they offered were most often occupied by residents who seemed to have no connection to each other. Few, if any, of those residents had jobs. In fact, hardly anyone seemed to do much but watch TV.

We wanted more for Dylan, and my wife Mimi decided to do something about it. In 2001, she began building One Step Beyond, a comprehensive program for young adults with developmental disability. It is a very new approach-one that is dedicated to achieving for its participants the same opportunities and responsibilities that the rest of us have. It includes knowing the frustrations and fulfillment of work. It includes taking care of and having pride in one’s own home. And it includes friendships that evolve out of mutual interests and abilities.

One Step Beyond began in 2003 with Dylan and 15 of her friends. Now, Just a Few Years Later, Over 100 young people come to One Step Beyond or live in One Step Beyond Supportive Residences. All are learning the daily homemaking, vocational, behavioral, and basic educational skills that will allow them to take their place in society and to lead meaningful, responsible lives. Seventy-five percent now have community service jobs. Fifteen percent are paid employees at local businesses who have partnered with us.

And every day there is a new participant knocking on our door. There are, in fact, an estimated 890,000 adults with Developmental Disability in the United States, with that number steadily increasing. Mimi loves them all. So does the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust, which helped One Step Beyond get off the ground. So do the Valley of the Sun United Way, the Molly Lawson Foundation, the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority, The Wal-Mart Good Works Foundation, the City of Glendale From the Heart Foundation, the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust, and many others who have placed their faith in the program.

Now it is your turn. If you have a family member who would like to be a participant in One Step Beyond, or you would like to support the incredible things One Step Beyond is doing, Please feel free to contact us for more information.

Please join us in helping young people with Developmental Disability become to the utmost of their abilities, contributing, and fulfilled members of our community.

With Best Regards,
Joseph Rogers, PhD