About Us


The Gold Coast Down Syndrome Organization is a family support and resource organization dedicated to serving families who have children with Down syndrome. Serving Palm Beach County families for nearly 40 years, the organization has grown from once monthly meetings to months filled with activities that reach out to member families and the disability community. If you are expecting a baby or just recently gave birth to a baby with Down syndrome, we welcome you to our family of support. If you have recently moved to the area, we’re sure you will find our organization an active and energizing opportunity for your family. Started in the traditional way as a group that supports families of young children, our organization has grown as our children have grown. Today we serve families with new babies through adults with Down syndrome. We strive to welcome all families and encourage you to join us at one of our many activities which may be a social and/or educational opportunity. We are an empowered group of families and friends who are advocating for our children so they may have a whole and valued life in their community. We look forward to receiving your phone call or email and helping you find ways to get involved. Welcome!

What’s It Like to Have Down Syndrome?

Gold Coast Down Syndrome Organization is affiliated with the Global Down Syndrome Foundation, the National Down Syndrome Congress (NDSC), the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS), and Down Syndrome Affiliates in Action (DSAIA) .

Board of Directors

David Faerman, President

Chari Sassin, Vice President

Tina Trujillo, Secretary

Wayne K. Tonning, RLA, Financial Officer

Marie Birchansky OTR/L

Michelle Vaughan, Ed.D

Sheri McCants-Hubers

Janessa Gross


Terri Harmon, Executive Director

Anne Dichele, Director of Development and Public Relations

Sue Davis-Killian, Director of Education

Our Founder and Mentor

Gail Marino

Our History

The Gold Coast Down Syndrome Organization was started in 1980 by three mothers who had a common need to make a better life for their children with Down syndrome. The group first met in the home of one of the founders. No other group dedicated to advocating specifically for persons with Down syndrome existed in Palm Beach County at that time, nor does today.

The founders agreed that an organized group with members focused toward making positive changes would create a powerful and effective organization. In 1982, Gold Coast Down Syndrome Organization was incorporated, elected its first Board of Directors and began meeting regularly. As the years progressed the organization continued to grow along with advocacy efforts across the country. Click on Current Programs to find out more about what we’re doing in 2016!

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