The Bohn Family (Scott, Darci, Zachary, Hannah & Adam) has been involved with The Arc, Upper Valley since their youngest member, Adam, was born with Down syndrome three years ago. The Arc provided them with information and support and they soon become strong advocates for the organization.
In 2004, Scott and Darci were strong supporters of the 3rd Annual Buddy Walk, serving on the planning committee and securing corporate sponsorship, distributing pledge packets and soliciting door prizes from local businesses. They also opened their home and hearts to the media and gave radio, television and newspaper interviews to promote the event and help raise awareness about the abilities of people with Down syndrome.
The event was embraced by the community, and more than 250 people with disabilities, their families, friends and co-workers participated in the walk on October 3, 2004 at the Grand Cities Mall. In a tremendous show of support, Grand Forks Mayor Mike Brown led the walk with the Bohn Family. Adam’s siblings, Zachary and Hannah, volunteered to distribute promotional items during the event and were featured in a front-page story in the Grand Forks Herald.
The Buddy Walk raised a record $4,000 in 2004. While it is easy to tally the financial success of an event, it is not always easy to measure the benefits in terms of humanity. But if the reaction of the public is any indication, it was a tremendous success. Because of the media exposure, the Bohn Family received many supportive phone calls from throughout the community. One of Scott Bohn’s former teachers called to say how proud he was of the way Scott and Darci were working to make the public aware of the potential for people with Down syndrome. He concluded by telling Scott that he looked forward to the day that little Adam would be a student in his classroom.
The Arc, Upper Valley also received numerous calls from people who were moved by the Bohn Family’s spirit. Many were interested in volunteering with The Arc or providing support through membership and donations. One memorable call was from the mother of one of Zachary’s classmates. Her daughter had seen the newspaper article and urged her mother to get involved. Darci Bohn continues to serve on the Buddy Walk committee, which uses the money raised to develop seminars and finance educational opportunities for people with Down syndrome and their families.
Like many sibling of people with disabilities, Zachary and Hannah show increased maturity and a concern for their brother’s future. Because of their experience having a brother with Down syndrome, they have both expressed interest in someday pursuing a career working with people with disabilities. They continue to participate in “Sibshops,” a program that offers peer support to siblings of people with disabilities. The willingness of the Bohn Family to speak out about their experience has gone a long way toward helping The Arc, Upper Valley break down stereotypes and accomplish its mission of educating the public about the potential of people with Down syndrome.