CADSA began in May 2002 when, inspired by her son Sam who has Down syndrome, Jodi Wiley created a flyer about an organizational meeting inviting anyone interested in joining a support group for parents of children with Down syndrome. The flyer was distributed to local schools, Special Olympics offices, and for community news announcements.

About a dozen people attended the initial meeting held at the Okemos Public Library. CADSA was born. Jodi led the first meeting and was soon joined in leadership by Sarah Presley. Monthly meetings continued with a format that altered between a speaker one month and unstructured sharing time the next. Word spread and by the fall of 2002, about forty people participated in the group’s first fundraiser, the Buddy Walk, held in October at Patriarche Park in East Lansing. Wagons and strollers rolled through the park and the early snowfall to raise over $1,000.

Today, the CADSA office is located in East Lansing. Through community partnerships, CADSA offers ongoing classes in karate, tennis, and dance, as well as a monthly, early childhood playgroup called Playtime Pals. CADSA has social clubs including Club21Plus (ages 14 and up), Mom's and Dad's Nights out. CADSA hosts several annual family events to support people with Down syndrome and their families. CADSA holds advocacy events for World Down Syndrome Day on 3/21 and in October for Down Syndrome Awareness Month. The Buddy Walk - which was renamed in 2011 to Step Up for Down Syndrome - is a yearly community celebration to raise awareness and funds to enhance the lives of people with Down Syndrome and their families.

Jodi continues to be involved with CADSA and recently helped organize the first CADSA Comedy Night fundraiser. Sam continues to be an inspiration to his family and friends!


Your tax-deductible donation helps fund the following initiatives:

Capital Area Down Syndrome Association

A 501(c)(3) Public Charity

EIN 55-0821583