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2012 Program

March 21st Celebrating The First Ever World Down Syndrome Day

7:00 – 8:10
Champagne Reception!
Silent Auction ends at 8:05pm

8:20 – 8:45
Movie Shorts featuring individuals with Down Syndrome

8:45 – 9:15pm
Welcome to World Down Syndrome Day

Michael Marshall – Master of Ceremony
Leslie Diening – Circle 21
Cheryl Zinyk and Nicolas Herd – Sol Express, L’Arche
Danielle Michelle – DSAT
Helen Smith – Centennial Infant and Child Center
Rosanna Manarin – Surrey Place Center
Karen Todd – Canadian Down Syndrome Society
Nicole Flynn – Self Advocate
Karen Meredith Blott – Circle 21

9:15 – 10:30pm
Happy – The Documentary

Michael Marshall – Hospital for Sick Children Chaplain
Michael Marshall is the Anglican Chaplain at the Hospital for Sick Children. He is also the priest in charge at St. Andrew By The Lake, Toronto Island. Melissa Georgiann Marshall is his daughter and is a member of the trisomy 21 community. Jane is his wife and they are the parents of 5 children. Michael worked in the theatre for 10 years.

Leslie Diening – Circle 21
Leslie Diening is a key contributor for Circle 21. She is very operationally and logistically minded; some might even see her as a bean counter (but in a good way!). Leslie’s focus will be to ensure Circle 21 gets results quickly, and that money is deployed effectively. She also comes from a customer-centric world. For Circle 21 she brings that professional discipline of keeping an organization aligned with the needs of the people it is meant to serve. Leslie has direct experience with Down Syndrome as a mom. When Leslie found her child had DS she did what comes naturally: read every book, contact every organization, seek out every resource. What she discovered was that there was resources were fragmented, hard to find and more often than not inadequate. It was particularly the case that services were not designed to help working moms whose days are already full with work commitments. She knows what Circle 21 needs to do to achieve meaningful results. As well as her corporate job, Leslie finds time to be a mother of four young kids. She studied psychology in university and you can be sure those four children give her many entertaining opportunities to see psychology at work in the real world.

Karen Meredith – Circle 21
Circle 21 was founded by Karen Meredith, Mom to 4 children and president of software company PPIL. Karen had the experience of being a ‘false negative’ mom. Prenatal testing showed her son had very low odds of a chromosomal abnormality (a negative) but the test was wrong and her son was born with Down Syndrome and many of the typically associated medical problems. The shock of having a child in intensive care for 6 weeks was soon accompanied by the revelation of what a great kid Conrad was. The inspiration Conrad provided gave more than enough juice to power the launch of Circle 21. Karen has three particular areas of expertise that will make Circle 21 successful. The first is experience running multi-national entrepreneurial organizations, not just Predictive Performance International but also as CEO of North America for Drake International. Secondly, is expertise in marketing, communication and politics (she once worked on Canada’s Parliament Hill!) which will be critical in engaging the diverse range of stakeholders. Third is her particular experience with Drake’s international staffing business which gives her inside understanding of the world of employment. Karen has surrounded herself with a team of talented individuals who are committed to making the vision of Circle 21 come to life.

Danielle Michelle – Down Syndrome Association of Toronto
Danielle Michelle is on the board of directors of the Down Syndrome Association of Toronto (DSAT). She is very much an integral part of the Down Syndrome community and spends countless hours volunteering with different programs, including the Monday co-op program. . DSAT is a parent organized and led registered Canadian Charity which works to achieve the goals of maximization of individual potential, integration, and full participation of persons with Down syndrome in the community. People say she has a heart of gold and is very compassionate!

Karen Todd – Canadian Down Syndrome Society
Karen Todd is the owner and President of two companies that provide Human Resources consulting services to businesses of all sizes. Karen and her husband Chuck have five children, the youngest, 8 year old Meghan has Down syndrome. Karen has been on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Down Syndrome Society (CDSS) for the past three years and chairs both the Conference Committee and the Fund Development Committee.…and the answers to your questions are 6’2, no, she doesn’t play basketball, and the weather up there is sunny and bright!

This year the CDSS is excited about celebrating its 25th Anniversary at the national conference being held here in Toronto at the Delta Chelsea Hotel over the Victoria Day weekend, May 18 – 20th. The Down Syndrome Association of Ontario is co-hosting the Conference and keynote speakers are Academy Award winning actress Marlee Matlin and Canadian Astronaut Dr. Dave Williams. He has a teenage son with Down syndrome. For more details about the wide range of workshops (including one from Circle 21’s own Karen Blott) for both parents and self-advocates, see Don’t miss the free family friendly welcome event on Friday evening (please register for this event) sponsored by the Down Syndrome Association of Toronto. The variety show, featuring a variety of talented individuals, will showcase the accomplishments and abilities of people with Down syndrome. Register soon and take advantage of the early bird pricing!

Helen Smith – Centennial Infant and Child Center
Helen Smith is Executive Director of the Centennial Infant and Child Centre Foundation. Her experience with young children includes 10 years of pediatric critical care nursing, specialized community pediatric nursing and over 20 years working as a volunteer and as a staff early interventionist at Centennial Infant and Child Centre, supporting children with developmental challenges and their families.

Centennial Infant and Child Centre is committed to the development and education of young children with developmental challenges. Centennial focuses on individual needs of the child and family, at the very earliest age (from birth to five years), the critical time in a child’s development. Programs include in-home early intervention, preschool and kindergarten programs…all supported by physio and occupational therapists, experts in child development and specialized teaching staff. Each child is valued for their unique abilities. Each child is encouraged and supported to develop to their full potential.

Rosanna Manarin – Surrey Place Center
Rosanna has an extensive back ground in Nursing with the last 20 + years in the Neonatal Intensive Care. Rosanna works at Surrey Place Center as the Service Coordinator. This role permits Rosanna to not only meet families and learn from them, but to significantly help and guide them as they start and carry along their road to advocacy for their children. Other things about me? I love the snow and miss having a winter! And I look forward to becoming involved with Circle 21 so that we can provide ongoing support to families with who have children with Down syndrome and to help advocate for their independence and longevity.

Cheryl Zinyk and Nicolas Herd – Sol Express, L’Arche
Cheryl Zinyk is the Creative Coordinator of Sol Express and has been a member of L’Arche for 20 years. Cheryl’s interests are storytelling, clown and drama. She is happy to be involved with anything that promotes the gifts and creativity of people with developmental disabilities. Nicolas Herd has been with Sol Express since its beginning in 2007. He is also a volunteer assistant at Variety Village, and a DSN presenter and a film participant in the Hot Doc’s festival entitled Petra’s Poem,.. Nicholas is most interested in art, theater and dance. Right now he is preparing for his Art Show at the Cobourg Arts and Crafts festival , a play with Drama Way and a play at the Fringe.

Nicole Flynn – Self Advocate
Nicole is 19 and lives Toronto. Nicole’s family includes her mom (Kathy Primrose), Dad (Duane) and two older brothers (Andrew and Darren) along with the family dog Chip. She also has her own dog, Cody, who is a 5 year old Shi-Tzu.

Nicole is very accomplished. Not only does she have a driver’s license, but she is talented in the area of sports and the arts. Nicole has completed the Duke of Edinburgh Young People’s Challenge and received the bronze, silver and gold awards. Nicole began competitive synchronized swimming when she was just 8. She trains with the Junior National team and in 2010 travelled to Dusseldorf, Germany and performed a demonstration solo swim. Last year Nicole qualified for the Age Group Championships and placed 6th in Ontario against typically developing 16-18 year old athletes. Further, she won a gold medal at the Eastern Divisional in the Athletes with a Disability category. Part of Nicole’s training for synchro is speed swimming and running so she started to compete in speed swimming. Last summer she decided to pull these sports together and then added cycling and completed her first triathlon. She has aspirations to do a longer one this year. Drama, music and art are important to Nicole. Last fall she played the part of Dinah in Scarborough’s Music Theatre production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. She plays the violin, piano and guitar as well as being a vocalist. Nicole loves creative writing and composing poetry. Nature photography is her favourite hobby and tells us “it’s exciting to catch shots of the wildlife in their natural habitat.”

Mat MacDonald/Angela Turone Quintet
The Mat MacDonald/Angela Turone Quintet is a Toronto based Jazz ensemble that features some of the most highly regarded young musical talent in the city. The band is comprised of students enrolled in the nationally acclaimed University of Toronto Jazz Program. Both Mat and Angela are experienced band leaders and have worked extensively in the corporate music scene. The Mat MacDonald/ Angela Turone Ensemble provides a range of musical options to suit your event. Our Quintet brings a high level of professionalism and class to every event we are featured at. Contact either Mat or Angela to discuss how we can help support the experience at any event.