Staff Changes at DSAA


As many of you know, former DSAA Executive Director Vanessa Champlin and her family have made the move to North Carolina.  Click here to hear from Vanessa directly and also learn what great things are in store for DSAA in 2017 from board president John Ducat.

Dearest DSAA families and friends,

As many of you already know, we have moved to North Carolina to be closer to family, thus I am stepping down as the DSAA Executive Director.

The decision to leave DSAA was a hard one, but the timing was thought out and carefully considered.  DSAA has never been in the hands of more caring, creative, committed volunteers. Board leadership has never been stronger. The community has never been more supportive or engaged.

The past four years have been amazing, we have accomplished so much together!

I have had the great good fortune to know and work with so many exceptionally talented, dedicated, compassionate people. We have had our struggles through the years, and we have grown together.

We have always discovered the opportunities that challenges present. This is because integrity, humility, and respect for ALL people comprise the foundation of this organization, of our mission, and of the work we do every day.

Over the coming weeks, I'll be here to work with board members, staff, the many dedicated volunteers, and the various DSAA communities to ensure a smooth transition. Stability and continuity are crucial in the period ahead.

I move on with a sense of enormous gratitude to all of you, it has been an honor and a privilege to serve you and your families and to do the work to which so many of us are dedicated.

Hugs and love,



From board president John Ducat:

First and foremost, on behalf of the Board and our members, I would like to thank Vanessa for her dedication and service to the DSAA.  Throughout her tenure as Executive Director, she has worked tirelessly toward making the DSAA a better organization and has had a meaningful impact on many lives along the way.  In short, the DSAA is stronger and our community is richer thanks to her involvement.  Thank you to both Vanessa and her husband, Glen, for their hard work and dedication.  You will be missed.

As one chapter ends, another begins, and the Board has already begun the process of identifying and meeting with candidates to fill the vacant Executive Director position created by Vanessa's departure.  There are many well-qualified individuals who are enthusiastic about the position and eager to contribute to the continued growth of the DSAA.

Please feel free to reach out to me and/or any other Board member, if you have any concerns or questions about the hiring process or the DSAA in general during this period while we are evaluating candidates for the Executive Director position.  We are here to help and want to ensure our organization accurately reflects the wants and needs of our community.

As we begin 2017, the Board looks forward to the new year ahead.  As Vanessa mentioned (and, in no small part, thanks to her efforts), we are well-positioned to capitalize on the many opportunities that exist to better serve our community.  We have several new programs we intend to roll out in the coming months that we believe will fill areas of need and advance our mission to help grow and enhance our community.  Not the least of which is our First Call Program whereby we hope to provide a team of individuals ready to assist new families in order to provide them with both support and information during that challenging and often uncertain time.  In addition to emotional support, education is one of our key goals, and we strive to ensure that families are well-informed of all the advantages and opportunities associated with having an individual with Down syndrome in their lives.  This program has been a long-held aspiration of the DSAA, and we look forward to sharing it with you.

Happy New Year and, as always, thank you for your support of the DSAA.