Kelle has contributed to Parents, Parenting, Martha Stewart’s Whole Living, Good Housekeeping, NPR’s All Things Considered, Magnolia Journal. She has created several online courses and is Vice President of the non-profit Ruby’s Rainbow. She’s also a regular contributor to the tardy sign-in list up at her daughter’s school.
Liz Plachta is co-founder and executive director of Ruby’s Rainbow, a nonprofit organization providing scholarships to people with Down syndrome for post-secondary education. The dream for this organization came to life after Liz, her husband, Tim, and their daughter Ella Mae welcomed baby Ruby in December 2010. When Ruby was born rockin’ a surprise extra chromosome, Liz and Tim knew they wanted to contribute in some meaningful way to the Down syndrome community, and Ruby’s Rainbow was born.
For Liz, the drive to start Ruby’s Rainbow came from her adoration for her family. Her passion to provide her own children with the best inspired her to help other families like hers with educational costs and support, as well as helping to raise standards and expectations of individuals with Down syndrome.
Liz lives in Austin, Texas, with Tim, Ruby, Ella Mae and a gaggle of dogs. The Plachtas enjoy spending time as a family and look forward to continuing their mission and passion of showing the world just how capable people rockin’ that extra chromosome truly are!!
Shauna Amick’s passion for the inherent worth and dignity of every human life was deeply solidified when her third child was diagnosed with Down syndrome, a near fatal heart defect, and a slew of other genetic abnormalities. As a speaker, author and disability rights advocate, Shauna shares the unique gift of seeing life’s hardships from God’s point of view. Her enthusiastic, vulnerable and often humorous first-hand stories, coupled with her powerful and practical messages, inspire everyone who listens. Shauna serves as the Director of Radio Ministries for Joni and Friends International Disability Center, and can often be heard encouraging radio listeners alongside Joni Eareckson Tada.
Sandi Ames has been advocating for individuals with disabilities for over 30 years. After her daughter, now 25, was born with Down syndrome she focused her efforts on special education advocacy and access for all students to their least restrictive environment. Sandi has participated on state and local collaborative projects in an effort to increase awareness and support of inclusive practices. After personally navigating the special education maze, her own daughter received her high school diploma in 2012. Now Director of CAN (Collaborate/Advocate/Navigate), Sandi provides special education consultation to families, as well as training and resource opportunities to individuals with disabilities, their families, and educators.