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About the Be Beautiful Be Yourself Fashion Show
When the Global Down Syndrome Foundation launched its first annual fundraiser to support the Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome, the Be Beautiful Be Yourself Fashion Show, many questioned the format and the economic viability.
To be fair, the idea of having a professional fashion show featuring people with Down syndrome was a new one in Colorado, as it would be in most parts of the world. With the help of our International Spokesperson Quincy Jones and our Ambassadors and their families, the Foundation’s first fashion show went off like a dream. The 1200-strong audience was impressed and truly inspired by the beauty and brilliance of our models.
Today, the annual Be Beautiful Be Yourself Fashion Show is the largest fundraiser for Down syndrome in the nation attracting over 1200 guests each year. It has raised over $7,600,000 for Down syndrome research, medical care, advocacy and education. Equally important, it has raised major awareness regarding the shocking disparity of funding for people with Down syndrome, while successfully emphasizing their abilities.
Celebrity also shows up in a big way for our cause. Each year at the event, the Global Down Syndrome Foundation presents the Quincy Jones Exceptional Advocacy Award to people who have used their celebrity to help those with Down syndrome and other developmental disabilities. Recipients include Quincy Jones, DeOndra Dixon, Tim Shriver, Karen Gaffney, John C. McGinley, Sujeet Desai, and Patrick Kennedy. In addition, celebrity friends and advocates such as Jamie Foxx, Beverly Johnson, Tom Arnold, Jeff Probst, Chauncey Billups, John Lynch, and Ed McCaffrey make a huge difference by showing up and cheering our models on.
Sarah is 17 years old and lives in Plano, Texas. She is a sophomore and plans to attend college just like her brother and sister. Her hobbies include singing, dancing, modeling, all sports and being a flyer on her National Champions cheerleading team Lucky Stars. Sarah loves to travel and go to concerts with her family and friends. She completes her family and brings much joy and love with her humorous and sassy ways. Sarah is a self-advocate who aspires to be a model/actress and get married someday. She loves life and inspires others every day to do the same.
Clarissa is 10 years old and lives in Englewood, Colorado. She is the 2015 Global Down Syndrome Foundation Ambassador. Clarissa has two older brothers, Alec and Jesse. When she was born, she surprised everyone with an extra chromosome. There have been a few challenges along the way such as heart surgery at four months, minor speed bumps. Since then, Clarissa has been on the go and really enjoying life! She loves to do gymnastics, swim, dance and play dress-up. This year she started fourth grade, and her favorite class is PE, where she can go outside and play, run and play basketball.
Ty is 10 years old and lives in Valley Cottage, New York. He is a shy but fun-loving and very witty boy. He loves to dance while listening to rock n roll and upbeat music. Some of his favorite artists are ACDC, The Who, Journey, and Eric Clapton. The songs he can’t get enough of are Can’t Stop the Feeling by Justin Timberlake and Happy by Pharrell. He loves playing basketball and football, but swimming is his favorite hobby. He has been participating in karate for over 5 years and will earn his black belt in December. This year he also started to train jiu-jitsu. His favorite meal is a cheeseburger and fries with ice cream for dessert. One of his favorite shows to watch is The Diary of a Wimpy Kid.
DeOndra has been a Global Down Syndrome Foundation Ambassador since 2011 and is the inaugural Quincy Jones Exceptional Advocacy Award recipient. She lives in California and travels around the U.S. and the world representing Global at conferences and events. She loves being a model and a role model. DeOndra loves her family, travel, bowling and movies. She is an excellent dancer and performed at the Grammys. DeOndra’s family has helped her reach her potential, and now she is helping others with Down syndrome do the same.
Loren, a.k.a. Sissy is 23 and is the eldest child of three children. She lives McMinnville, Oregon with her family. Loren likes to shop, sing, dance and color, and she loves being pampered and getting manicures and pedicures. She loves meeting new people and going to community dances, events and hanging out with her friends. She really enjoys Zumba and attends several times a week. She is currently employed through MV Advancements. Loren would like to one day be a model. She is vivacious, spunky, and has a carefree personality. Her charismatic and contagious smile lights up every room she walks in to.
Jacob is 22 years old and lives in Papillion, Nebraska. He currently works as a pre-school paraprofessional and takes continuing education classes at Career Solutions, Inc. These include: Video Game Programing, Stage Craft, and Intro to Broadcasting. In high school, Jacob was a member of the marching and concert band, the JV bowling team. He was also voted Homecoming King by his peers his senior year. In April of 2017, in Washington D.C., Jacob was honored to receive the 2017 NDSS Self Advocate Champion of Change Award on Capitol Hill, and in 2016, he was an NDSS O’Neill Tabani Scholarship recipient. Jacob is a competitive swimmer, soccer player, bowler and power lifter for the Special Olympics and has 10 state gold medals.
Regina is 16 years old and the youngest child of Oscar and Regina Janga. Regina was born in Aruba and resides there with her parents. She has two older brothers, Zjevaun and Brazezja. She currently attends school in Duna Man. In the afternoons, she attends the after school sessions at Traimerdia Sonrisa where she is so comfortable, she considers it her second home. When Regina was born, her family fell in love with her instantly. She was a very quiet and easy baby, but little did her family know she was only saving her energy for later in life! Music is the center point of her family’s life, and Regina was immersed as early as 4 years old. She loves listening to music, singing her heart out, and dancing to her favorite tunes, in her home, in the stores, wherever she is! Regina is a happy young lady and gives hugs willingly.
Brett is a 14-year-old freshman at Legend High School in Parker, Colorado. He is on the Varsity Cheer team and sings in the choir. He got a rough start to life with his heart stopping at 20 months old after a battle with croup. At 9 years old, Brett entered the foster care system, but found his forever family in his former teacher! While he battles some health issues and epilepsy, he was a 2015 ambassador for Children’s Hospital Colorado for showing perseverance through treatment. Brett is a charismatic, active, and charming boy who loves to laugh and make others laugh with him. You will almost never see him without his favorite stuffed animals in hand, especially Bert and Woody. He is part of the Junior Denver Broncos Cheerleaders team, competes in Special Olympics, and loves to sing, dance, model, dress-up, and go to Disneyland!
Tyreese is 17 years old. He is from Colorado Springs, Colorado and is in 11th grade at Widefield High School. His favorite parts of the school day are lunch and P.E. He is greatly looking forward to attending his Junior Prom this year. Tyreese comes from a large, blended family, including his Great Dane named Vanna and Chihuahua named Tiana. He loves spending time with his 4-year-old and 1-year-old nephews. He enjoys listening to music, singing and dancing and isn’t shy about showing off his moves. Tyreese spends as much time as possible outdoors, fishing and camping with family and friends. The past 3 years, he has participated in the Challenger Baseball Program and also participates in the city wide Special Olympics events. His sense of humor and big smile bring pure joy to every room he enters.
Timothy is 31 years old and lives in Jackson, Wyoming. He is outgoing, funny, and hardworking. When Tim was in the 5th grade, his family moved to Vail, Colorado where he participated in the skiing events at the Special Olympics. He was also a Special Olympics Global Messenger. In 2003, Tim and his family moved back to Jackson where attended the culinary program at Central Wyoming College which enabled him to hone his excellent cooking skills. Tim currently works at Vertical Harvest, an indoor hydroponic greenhouse that provides vegetables to local restaurants, markets, and employees including adults with different abilities. Tim has traveled to Paris, London, Thailand and Mexico. He lives in his own apartment and loves living independently.
Kylee is 24 years old and lives in Arvada, Colorado with her mom and dad. She is a great big sister to her brother Dylan. She enjoys going to A Brighter Community four days a week to continue developing her living skills, exercising, making friends and getting out into the community. Kylee loves kids, cooking, bowling, going to the movies, spending time with family and friends, reading and listening to music. She is a huge country music fan! Dancing with the Stars is one of her favorite TV shows along with any show on the Food Network. Kylee hopes to one day become a pastry chef or to work with her friends at ABC as a paraprofessional.
Sheena is 32 years old and lives in Centennial, Colorado. She is known to her family and friends as “The Dancing Queen” because she can shake it all night long! Along with dancing, Sheena loves to sing and rocks the crowd with her rendition of “Wild Thing”. She is constantly entertaining others with her jokes and making others laugh. When Sheena is not entertaining, she is busy with friends, bowling, going to movies, working at her day center, going to camps, swimming laps, and basically being more active than the average human being. Her favorite vacation is anything that involves Disney. She can never get too much Mickey Mouse!