The Down Syndrome Association of Central Texas (DSACT) is one of the largest Down syndrome associations in the nation, providing education, support, and resources to individuals with Down syndrome and their families.
These organizations would not thrive without dedicated volunteers, and KVUE met one woman who really goes the extra mile: Yulanda Young-Shaw.
Every Sunday, Yulanda looks forward to spending time with so many sweet faces. For her, it's worth the hour-and-a-half drive.
"I love these kids and I just enjoy being around them. I couldn't find anything like that in Killeen so I felt like it was worth the drive just to be a part of something that was bigger than myself like the Down Syndrome Association," Young-Shaw said.
Every weekend she goes the distance to volunteer with the Down Syndrome Association of Central Texas. Today's class: Warrior Storm Martial Arts at Town Lake YMCA.
"This class is all about teaching children and their siblings with down syndrome how to stay safe," said Joye Petty Zverina, founder of Warrior Storm Martial Arts.
Zverina stresses the importance of leadership, self-control and not being afraid to try even when you're feeling timid and need some encouragement.
"It just makes my heart full because I feel like if I don't come here on the weekends I am lost," said Young-Shaw.
In October, DSACT held its 18th annual Buddy Walk in Georgetown. It's an event that promotes inclusion and recognizes the uniqueness and capabilities of individuals with Down syndrome.
While having Down syndrome in no way defines who these warriors are – or what they can accomplish now or later on in life - it's always nice to have a little help along the way from volunteers and friends like Yulanda Young-Shaw.
"At the end of class you always get a hug from the kids and I never forget that when I leave. I go through my whole week thinking about these kids," she added.
Locally, DSACT serves roughly 800 families and has 5,000 members. Membership includes not only people with Down syndrome but their families and community members who help serve them. TAP OR CLICK HERE for more information.