Down Syndrome Aim High was established in 1981 as a regional, not-for-profit organization with an all-volunteer Board of Directors and a membership of over 200 families. The core purpose of Aim High was to provide support and information to individuals with Down syndrome, their families, and the community. Aim High organized such activities as the Conference, Buddy Walk, Proclamation Ceremony, social events, and published a newsletter six times a year.
In 2002, the Board of Directors of Aim High considered options to “professionalize” the organization. It had become apparent that an all-volunteer organization lacked the expertise and time to effectively deal with many of the complex and fundamental issues faced by individuals with Down syndrome and their families. This idea resulted in the formation of the Down Syndrome Resource Center (DSRC) as an organization separate from Aim High, but heavily influenced by the ideas and needs of the Aim High membership. The DSRC was established in 2003 as a regional, not-for-profit, organization. The DSRC was governed by a Board of Directors and initially had one employee. The DSRC was not a membership organization. The DSRC provided coordination and one-on-one support on medical, educational, social and other issues, maintained a website and library, and organized seminars and trainings for individuals with Down syndrome, parents and professionals.
To reflect on 25 years as an organization, Aim High organized a Board Retreat in 2006. Several consensus action items emerged from the Retreat, first among them to explore a merger or closer alliance between Aim High and the DSRC. The “Merger Committee” recommended a complete merger which was accepted at the April 25, 2007 General Membership Meeting. The new organization was named the Down Syndrome Aim High Resource Center (DSAHRC). The DSAHRC grew rapidly, serving more families each year, and providing more services to the membership and the community. The DSAHRC is governed by an all-volunteer Board of Directors, employs a staff, and has a centrally located spacious office. The staff provides consultation to individuals with Down syndrome, their families and the professionals who work with them in the areas of education, medical, social, and community issues. The activities and programs organized by the DSAHRC include: the Buddy Walk, the Gala, the Conference, the Bike Camp, the Reading Tutorial Program, and a variety of Seminars. Resources are available to the membership through the website, the lending-library, the newsletter, the weekly updates, the parent information packets, the Welcome Baby Bags, and the Direct Impact Grants.