Board of Advocates

The Down Syndrome Coalition for El Paso is led by a group of parents, grandparents and community members who recognize and embrace the joy that individuals with Down syndrome add to life.

Felipe Martinez, President
Felipe Martinez, President
Buddy Walk Co-Chair, Fundraising Committee, Strategic Planning Committee

The birth of my daughter opened my eyes to the lack of resources and support for families of children with Down syndrome. Through my involvement with the DSC, I hope to spread awareness and educate the community on behalf of all individuals with Down syndrome.

Being a part of the DSC has taught me to celebrate life and live in the moment. I invite you to get involved with a non-profit you are truly passionate about. Whether you get involved through a donation of your time or financial resources, knowing you’re a small part of a great cause is truly rewarding.

Nancy Casteneda, Vice President
Nancy Casteneda, Vice President
Calendar Chair, Christmas Party Chair, Programs Committee

As a mom to a precious child with Down syndrome, I noticed an absence of resources in El Paso and I wanted other families to have access to resources I didn’t. Thankfully, I found the DSC and a community that had the same passion and drive as me.

Through my involvement in the DSC, I want to create a better future for all individuals with Down syndrome by advocating and creating opportunities and resources within our community. I have encountered so many families walking in the same shoes as me. Hearing their stories has made me a better mother for my daughter.

The DSC relies on the generosity of those willing to make a difference. While our services and programs directly impact individuals with Down syndrome, I believe promoting inclusion and acceptance benefits the community as a whole.

Rosemary Neill, Treasurer
Rosemary Neill, Treasurer

I have a heart for organizations that fill gaps in services for individuals, especially children. The DSC has exposed me to various needs in the community and gaps in services for individuals with Down syndrome that we hope to fill.

The DSC is dedicated to ensuring everyone in our community has the opportunity to live a safe, productive and engaged life. With your help, we can make that a reality.

Dr. Christina Paz, Board Secretary
Dr. Christina Paz, Board Secretary
Every Little Blessings' Beginnings Committee Chair

As a medical professional and a mother to a beautiful child with Down syndrome, I recognize the need for support, resources and education for individuals with Down syndrome and their families.

The DSC gave my family a sense of hope and community at a time when we felt lost and isolated. It is my goal to make the DSC a household name: an organization providing information and a community of support that feels like family.

We need your help to get our mission out in the community, to educate the public on Down syndrome and to advocate for workforce opportunities to individuals with Down syndrome. Join the DSC, and gain a whole new family.

Joyce Y. Cordell, Board Member
Joyce Y. Cordell, Board Member
Marketing Chair, Programs committee, Buddy Walk Committee, DSCEP Symposium Committee

After starting our local Buddy Walk, I joined the DSC to ensure families have the information they need, when they need it. I’m motived by the challenges I have experienced as a parent to a child with Down syndrome and work to make sure families understand their children’s rights.

The DSC has become an extended family to me and my daughter, giving us the opportunity to make a positive impact in the community and in the lives of children with Down syndrome and their families.

If you want to feel loved and your heart to start signing, assist the DSC in making a difference in the community. There is nothing better than a hug from one of our special buddies.

Araceli Berumen, Board Member
Araceli Berumen, Board Member
Programs Committee Chair

I have a wonderful teenage son with Down syndrome and I want to help El Paso become an innovative city that provides many different types of programs and resources to individuals with Down syndrome and their families.

I have met so many wonderful families, and through their experiences and my own, I’ve seen the great need our city has better resources and programs for differently-abled citizens. My goal is to make El Paso an inclusive city for individuals with Down syndrome.

Families of individuals with Down syndrome have been neglected for far too long. Join the DSC in our efforts to make our city a better place for all citizens, including individuals with Down syndrome.

Greg L. Cory, Board Member
Greg L. Cory, Board Member
Finance Committee

To better serve the needs of my community, I joined the DSC. As the Vice-Chairman of El Paso Health, I felt the need to better understand the needs of children with Down syndrome and the impact it has on their families.

I believe a community-wide understanding of the needs of these children and their families will improve our society as a whole. I invite you to join our cause and learn more about Down syndrome and how you can make a positive impact in our community.

Will S. Harvey, Board Member
Will S. Harvey, Board Member
Nominations Committee, Finance Committee

I joined the DSC because I noticed a huge unfulfilled need in the community that needed attention and community awareness. My personal goals for the DSC include establishing a permanent location for our preschool, Every Little Blessing, and increasing our outreach to families of individuals with Down syndrome.

I’ve learned how Down syndrome impacts families and met amazing people through my involvement with the DSC. Being a part of the DSC presents a chance to have a real and lasting impact on the lives of countless members of our community. Get involved and start making difference.

Anna Maria Anchondo, Board Member
Anna Maria Anchondo, Board Member
Fundraising Committee, Volunteer Coordinator, Annual Easter Party Host

I have the honor of knowing incredible individuals with Down syndrome, including my daughter, and I believe they deserve an open community. My goal is to help establish a community that gives my daughter and others with Down syndrome the opportunity to grow and reach their personal dreams, including education and employment.

The DSC has become a family to us, giving me a safe place to express myself and an opportunity for my daughter to socialize and find a sense of belonging. I want others to benefit from the welcoming community and resources the DSC offers. With your support, we can make this happen.

John McKee, Board Member
John McKee, Board Member
Fundraising Committee

My granddaughter was born with Down syndrome and I want her to experience a life of inclusivity, not exclusion based on her abilities. Through the DSC, I want to expand Every Little Blessing, our preschool for children with Down syndrome, to serve children with other disabilities.

By enhancing the services provided to individuals with special needs, El Paso can become a destination for talented people who are blessed with a family member with special needs, rather than a place for them to avoid. With your help, the DSC can succeed in making El Paso a better place with a brighter future for all.

Janette Coon, Board Member
Janette Coon, Board Member
Strategic Planning Committee

I first experienced the joy of children with Down syndrome while working at Sunshine Camp. It didn’t take long for me to fall in love with the kids. In joining the DSC, I want to help raise community awareness about these kids’ unique needs and help raise funds for the preschool.

I truly believe each child is a gift from God and that each person should have the opportunity to live a full, rich life. If you’re waiting for someone to step up and make a change, I invite you to join the DSC and start making a positive difference in our community.

Belinda E. Walker, BSN, RN, Board Member
Belinda E. Walker, BSN, RN, Board Member

As a healthcare professional, I hope to provide comfort and congratulations to families who receive a Down syndrome diagnosis. As a mother, blessed with a daughter with Down syndrome, I want to help the community I was raised in to be more accommodating and inclusive.

After continually promising myself that one day I would help more or get involved, I finally joined the DSC. Now that I’m involved, the DSC has become family to me and my daughter, and I hope to work on the development of programs for all ages and abilities. There will always be a need for involvement, donations and volunteers. Today is the day to get started. Join us!

Carlos Gonzalez, MD, MBA, Board Member
Carlos Gonzalez, MD, MBA, Board Member

I joined the DSC because I believe in the mission and want to serve the larger Southwest region. I hope to implement programs and create processes that are not only sustainable, but scalable, and allow us to serve more people.

Being a part of the DSC has opened my eyes to the opportunity to make a significant, positive impact on the lives of children with Down syndrome. The DSC takes pride in developing resources that benefit our children, eliminating the need for them to travel to other cities to find appropriate support. Help us continue this amazing work.