Who are the Wonder Women?

For the last 8-years I’ve had the privilege to participate in Cincinnati’s Buddy Walk in support of the Down Syndrome Association of Greater Cincinnati (DSAGC). Every year the staff of the Thomas Center for Down Syndrome enjoys coming up with ideas for the walk. I think we may have gone a little over the top this year. My son called us,

The Wonder Women of the Thomas Center…and a few guys


The “guys” were our children, boy friends, and husbands because our entire staff is comprised of women. When I told my husband that we were each dressing up as Wonder Woman, he gave me a really strange look and asked, “Aren’t you presuming a bit much calling yourselves wonder women?” I totally got what he meant – Here’s a team of medical health professionals calling themselves super heroes at the Buddy Walk. Really? Like every good tale there is a back-story.

The DS community in Cincinnati makes us feel like Wonder Women every day

When people comment and say that it looks like we really enjoy our jobs, it’s because we do

When parents cry happy tears and call or email us their child’s amazing stories – first word, first steps, first anything – we feel like super heroes

The real secret is that we’re not alone as super heroes – every parent, grand parent, friend, sibling, relative, teacher, and child with DS we’ve met is part of our super community. Wonder Woman fights for justice and love with her lasso of truth, the very things we advocate for in the lives of people with DS.

If you live in Cincinnati and want to be a part of a super community – contact the DSAGC. You don’t have to know someone with DS to make a difference – you can start by volunteering in the main office, participate in one of the special events, or connect with an affinity group to see friendship in action.

So what was my Buddy Walk moment? There were a lot of moments, but here are a few:

  • Seeing Colin’s Crusaders with Colin leading the way in his Kaye walker
  • Hearing how many signs Harrison of Harrison’s Hall of Famers has picked up this month
  • Meeting Brennan’s mom – Brennan is my brother Samuel’s girl friend (they’re 16 with DS)
  • Seeing so many familiar faces! (And I’m a little disappointed how many I missed)
  • The hugs – Especially from Brooklyn of Brooke’s Bunch – it was so big and sweet – I melted

I wish I could name off each and every moment today. It was overwhelming and beautiful and now you know why we were “The Wonder Women of the Thomas Center…and a few guys”

Back Row (L-R): Jennifer Bekins (SLP), Anna Esbensen (Psychology), Gretchen Carroll (Education), Emily Mertz (OT), Stephanie Brown (Nurse Care Coordinator), Jamie Fellers (ASR and AMAZING Team Captain), Mindy Wendland (Nutrition). Front (L-R) Abbey Kent (PT), Pam William Arya (MD), Kelsey Snyder (SLP), and Kelly McLaren (Social Work). Present but not pictured Krystin Turner (OT)
L-R Kelsey, Jake, Abbey, Emily, Jennifer, Samuel


5 thoughts on “Who are the Wonder Women?”

  1. Jennifer- we live in Akron and our 3-year-old son, Joey (aka Super Joe) has Down syndrome. We just got our appointment at the Thomas Center for January and are counting down the days!!!! We are so, so excited. Stephanie B. has been incredible to work with and I have never met her in person before– I so enjoy your blog and always learn something new. Thank you to you and all the Wonder Women of the Thomas Center– we are so very excited to get to bring Joey there!!!!

  2. Ditto to steph’s comments. One of the many reasons we are blessed to live in Cincinnati! Joyfully – the Chesnuts

  3. Not one single mom I talked to today could mention you ladies without getting emotional. To us, no matter how long we’ve known you, you feel like family. It might sound over-the-top to anyone not in our shoes. It might sound cliche. But the respect and admiration we have for you ladies is unrivaled. You have loved our children and given us encouragement and hope in the earliest months and years of our children’s lives, and those years are often filled with uncertainty and worry. Taking my son to therapy has never felt like a chore. And the other moms I know, well, we all look forward to it. Our children love you, we love you, and just thinking about all of you there together today chokes me up. From our family and on behalf of many others, thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing your talents and your love with our children.

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