Children with brightly colored scarves in their hands and smiles on their faces enjoyed an opportunity where they could set aside any worries that they might have for a dance party.
“They tell you when you’re pregnant with a child with Down syndrome to be prepared,” said Kyla Kelly, who watched her 20-month-old son, Cash, interact and laugh with other children.
“They tell you that there’s all these bad things that can happen. They don’t tell you about all the joys and all the excitement.”
About a dozen families brought their children with Down syndrome and siblings to the TwentyONEderful Dancy Party at the Canyon Country Jo Anne Darcy Library on Saturday.
“I feel very blessed for having my son and having the opportunity to start something like this,” Kimberly Molenda said.
Molenda started the Down syndrome family connect group TwentyONEderful about four years ago when she had her son Max, who was diagnosed with the genetic disorder.
“The scariest thing for me is that I didn’t know anything about Down syndrome,” Molenda said.
“I just felt so alone.”
The connect group now has 30 families that interact and support one another.
“There were very few parents I would see that had children with Down syndrome,” said Sherry Brown, who held her son’s hand and danced with him during the party.
“(The group) has just grown amazingly in the last couple years.”
The event is a free, annual party with a half hour of dance and a half hour of free-play, where children got the opportunity to play with others and their parents.
“It’s a blessing,” said parent and event organizer Francesca Phillippi.
“It’s a great opportunity for us to come together as parents as well. You almost feel that even if you don’t know them, you really do. You have something in common.”