Chasing Dreams offers programs for kids with Down syndrome

September 21, 2013 7:05:17 AM PDT
Chasing Dreams is a Valparaiso-based organization that fills the gap with programs and services for children and their families.

Parents of children with Down syndrome in northwest Indiana dreamed that there was a place for their children to play together.

Earlier this year, their dream came true. There's now a thriving center.

Since Chasing Dreams opened last February, 50 children with Down syndrome have participated in some of the programs offered.

Denise Babjak is the founder and also a parent of a 4-year-old with Down syndrome.

"We offer cardio classes, we have tutoring, which includes reading, math, spelling, handwriting and life skills. We also have arts and crafts and support groups," said Denise Babjak, founder of Chasing Dreams.

"I noticed, in our community here, that we needed something like this," said Babjak. "There is nothing like this in the area, we have been contacted by other families who want to come participate here."

All of its programs are free of charge.

"Everybody is volunteer based at our center how we have afford our center is by wonderful generous family members, friends the community everybody helps support us because they know how important it is to help this group," said Babjak.

Brianne O'Rourke has two children with Down syndrome.

"It's an awesome place, our kids have benefited so much from it with therapies and social groups and I've been to the mom's night out and the parent group," said Brianne O'Rourke. "Patrick, the oldest, interacts so much better now with his peers and Kaitlin enjoys the music class and has gotten into the art classes."

Babjak said another room was added in February, the organization, she says, is growing fast.

"It has been neat, with this group there's so many parents that get together so I meet young moms and older moms," said O'Rourke.

"I'm hoping that five years from now, we'll have 20 centers under our belt if not more, because it's about helping these families and their children and because there's a need for this," said Babjak.

www.chasingdreams.org

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