Individuals with Down syndrome who wish to work and be active participants in their communities might find it difficult to have an avenue for doing so. Katie Moore, executive director of ABC Hopes, a new nonprofit organization dedicated to those with Down syndrome, hopes to help make it more attainable.
Moore, 30, of Corona, collaborated with her father to conceptualize the organization. They called it ABC Hopes as an abbreviated version of “All Because Christopher Hopes,” in honor of Katie’s 21-year-old brother, Chris.
Moore says her family has always been impressed with Chris’ work ethic and drive to use his abilities as best he can. She wanted to give other individuals with Down syndrome the chance to do the same.
As part of the organization’s mission statement, they say they hope to “help the individuals we work with develop skills that will increase the employment opportunities available to them and, as a result, increase their involvement in the community.”
Moore says the first way they will do this is by having participants pick produce in the community and sell it at farmers markets, beginning with one in Corona.
“Selling the produce also doesn’t need to be the end goal for these individuals. We are hoping that through our program, they can find different kinds of jobs that suit their needs and abilities. They need to be out in the community to find those jobs,” Moore explained.
What differentiates ABC Hopes from other organizations?
“Many groups like this are trying to raise money for a cure — that’s not us. We are hoping that we can raise awareness. These individuals love life and they want to be accepted, appreciated and involved,” Moore said. “We hope to give them one avenue of doing so.”
Moore says another main goal of the group is to help young adults with Down syndrome have a stronger sense of self-worth and confidence.
“There’s something for everyone,” she said.
Chris Moore, the inspiration for the project, said he hopes to take on a more social role in the organization.
“I’m excited to be working at the farmer’s market!” he said.
Chris Moore also is hoping the project will eventually expand to San Diego, so he can get a beach house.
Story Written by Emily M. Wells