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What's Goin' On? News, Current Events, Calendar, Press Coverage, and the Spirit Newsletter at Down Home Ranch, Elgin, TX 78621


The Latest News from DHR
DHR's December 2014
Spirit Newsletter

DHR's September 2014
Reflections


Read Previous DHR Newsletters

Upcoming DHR Events
Mark Your Calendars!

DHR Christmas Party
Thursday, December 18, 2014

Cruise to Cozumel: Join Us!
January 22-26, 2015

2015 DHR Golf & Gala
Fri & Sat, April 17 & 18, 2015

Updates on Recent Events

2014 Chainsaw Manicure Facebook Photo Album

2014 Swim Fest
Facebook Photo Album


Other Important Events

PLAN Institute 2015 Retreat
Thinking Like a Movement
January 2015 / Vancouver,
British Columbia

World Down Syndrome Day
March 21st, Every Year

FRED Conference
FRED: Farms and Ranches Enabling People with Disabilities
Conference for Special Needs Lifelong Communities
2015 Dates / Location TBD
March 28-29, 2014
LAX Marriott, California

NDSC National Convention
June 25-28, 2015
Phoenix, AZ
 

News & Events

DHR's Latest Newsletter

Spirit Newsletter:  December 2014

Read Previous DHR Newsletters

We're excited to share all the lastest news about Down Home Ranch. Here are a few highlights of what we've included in the December 2014 edition of the Spirit Newsletter:

  • Many thanks to all our volunteers who bring generous hearts, hard work, lots of energy, and lasting friendships. We could never, ever have turned a dream into reality without them.
     
  • We've done some amazing things on the Ranch this year, made possible by the Founders' Legacy campaign.
     
  • Our Inn Keepers program is getting bigger and better. Find out about the way we take care of the large groups we serve, and how your church group or other organization can take advantage the wonderful things we offer.
     
  • Down Home Ranch offers a wonderful lifestyle to our Ranchers and their families, but organizations like ours are coming under threat from regulatory policies. Find out why in the Spirit Newsletter and how you can help support freedom of choice for people with intellectual disabilities. To learn more, visit Coalition for Community Choice.
     
  • SwimFest 2014 was another fun day and now we are ready for the 2015 cruise to Cozumel. Join Us!
     
  • Welcome to DHR's new Chief Operations Officer, Craig Russell.
     
  • A big challenge grant from the Anderson Foundation has just been awarded to Down Home Ranch, but we'll need to collect $50,000 to receive it. What better way to usher in the holidays than with two gifts? Donate today, and your donation will be doubled!

    Also in this issue:
  • Jerry and Judy share their thoughts on the future of DHR and other residential communities.
  • Amplify Austin was a great opportunity to watch our virtual community in action.
  • We pay tribute to a dedicated camper and dear friend.
  • We visit the Mother Earth News fair.
  • 2015 Calendar
  • Listing of DHR's Board of Directors, Advisory Board, Administration and Staff
  • Thank You for Your Continued Support

DHR Is In the News!

Local Wonders Series: Down Home Ranch - A Haven for the Intellectually Disabled, TWC News Staff, 12/4/2014

Image: Local Wonders - Down Home Ranch link to video at TWC YNN 12/4/2014 Click to watch the video

Many thanks to TWC's Your News Now for including Down Home Ranch in the Local Wonders series. The video features Jerry Horton giving a short history of how DHR has grown to become a community of opportunity, where DHR Ranchers "learn things and master things and take pride in their work and in their lives."

Learn more about DHR and how you can also join our "community of opportunity" through our volunteer program.

Down Home Ranch Poinsettias Spread Christmas Cheer, Elgin Courier, 12/2/2014

Image: Down Home Ranch poinsettias spread Christmas cheer at Elgin Courier 12/2/2014

Many thanks to the Elgin Courier for carrying a wonderful story about our poinsettias and how DHR Ranchers, our customers, and community volunteers help DHR grow, package, and deliver more than 12,000 poinsettias each year.

Learn more about DHR's poinsettias and how you can help us deliver our poinsettias this year through our volunteer program.
 

DHR's Latest Reflections

Reflections:  September 2014

By 1991, Fr. Nouwen had been living at the Daybreak L'Arche Community outside of Toronto for several years. No one would have predicted this brilliant scholar would spend the last years of his life as care-giver to one of their most helpless residents and being a pastor in a community for people with intellectual handicaps.

Nouwen himself was notoriously inept at the little chores of everyday life, forgetting to close the shower curtain and flooding the bathroom, or missing swaths of whiskers during his morning shave. He had lived, after all, a life of the mind. Read more of Heaven Is Like... >>

Recent Posts from the DHR Blog

A dream comes true..., 9/8/2014

Image: Down Home Ranch Swim Fest 2014 Swim Fest 2014

A few weeks ago we held the Swim Fest, our annual end-of-summer fundraiser where our Ranchers form swim teams to compete for various trophies and raise money for their winter cruise and other quality of life issues.

Swim Fest is low-key and most of our parents come out to cheer on the gang. I was sitting with one of the older moms when her son "Ken" came up. Ken's quite a kidder and after a few jokes and pulling of legs, he headed back to the water. Ken's mom turned to me and said "Thank you so much. He is so happy. And for the first time in my life, I don't have to hope and pray that he dies at least one day before me."

I was shocked when Kelly was small and I would hear parents--many parents--of older sons and daughters with intellectual disabilities say that their main goal in life was to outlive their child. For one thing, since Kelly was born when I was 42 and Jerry was 46, we figured that would be wishing a very early death on our daughter.

For another, we planned to make sure Kelly still would have a happy life even when we had passed on. We wished for her a long life filled with love and laughter and other people she cares about--her boyfriend Sterling, her sisters and extended family, her friends at the Ranch, who are many.   Read the full article >>

In the beginning..., 7/15/2014

Image: Dr. Jerome Lejuene, discoverer of cause of Down syndrome; Picture credit: Fondation Jerome Lejeune via Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 3.0) Dr. Jérôme Lejuene, discoverer of cause of Down syndrome

When Kelly was five weeks old, the National Down Syndrome Congress convention came to San Antonio. Daughter Martha and I drove down to see what we could learn.

Jerry and I ... had also just received Kelly's karyotype, which showed, most curiously, four No. 21 chromosomes. This was, needless to say, worrisome to us (and unheard of to our physicians). If one extra chromosome could gum up the works, what would two do?

Fortunately, the very man who discovered the cause of Down syndrome was present at the conference.

Jérôme Lejuene was a French researcher, who in 1958 identified that an extra 21st chromosome caused the syndrome named after the man who first described it, John Langdon Down.

...I figured he would be interested in Kelly's karyotype, and I was interested in his take on it, so I stood in line to speak with him.   Read the full article >>

Another Post from the DHR Blog

Racing the Clock, 7/29/13

Image: Judy Horton with young attendee at the National Down Syndrome Congress (NDSC) Convention Judy Horton with young attendee at the National Down Syndrome Congress Convention

Jerry and I, three staff, and two Down Home Ranch Board members attended the National Down Syndrome Congress Conference (NDSC) in Denver in mid-June. Jerry and I went up early to attend the Global Down Syndrome Foundation Round Table on current advances in Down syndrome research and treatment.

Wow! What a difference a few years make! Down syndrome has traditionally been a subject few were willing to tackle in terms of research. The reasons are complex and varied.

First, there's the matter of an entire chromosome being involved, not a single gene, as in cystic fibrosis. It has only been in the last decade or so that researchers have been willing to tackle such a complicated and daunting task. Where to begin?   Read the full article >>

Another Article Research on Down Syndrome

Down Syndrome Reversed in Newborn Mice with Single Injection, ABC News, 9/6/2013

US researchers have found a way to reverse Down syndrome in newborn lab mice by injecting an experimental compound that causes the brain to grow normally.

The study, published in the Science Translational Medicine journal, offers no direct link to a treatment for humans but scientists are hopeful it may offer a path towards future breakthroughs.

There is no cure for Down syndrome, which is caused by the presence of an additional chromosome and results in intellectual disabilities, distinctive facial features and other health problems.

The team at Johns Hopkins University of Medicine, in Baltimore, used lab mice that were genetically engineered to have extra copies of about half the genes found on human chromosome 21, leading to Down syndrome-like conditions such as smaller brains and difficulty learning to navigate a maze. On the day the mice were born, scientists injected them with a small molecule known as a sonic hedgehog pathway agonist.  Read the full article >>

Another Post from Judy's Blog

Well glory hallelujah!, 2/10/2012

Dr. Jon Pierce-Shimomura, Assistant Professor of Neurobiology at the University of Texas at Austin Dr. Jon Pierce-Shimomura, Director of the Pierce-Shimomura Lab at the University of Texas

Yesterday I wrote about coming advancements in the possibility of medical intervention to overcome the disabling effects of Down syndrome in the brain. This was in the context of a promise to a family with a newborn with Downs.

Little did I realize...

In today's Wall Street Journal there is an article on page A3 entitled "New Attack on Alzheimer's." It reports the success researchers at Case Western Reserve have had in reversing—not preventing—reversing advanced Alzheimer's in mice bred to develop the disease.

So? You may ask. Mice are not men and Alzheimer's is not Down syndrome. Read the full article >>
 

More News: Thanks for Spreading the Word!

Over the years, folks in the media have visited Down Home Ranch and shared wonderful stories, blog postings, news articles, and videos about us. The stories below will give you a flavor of where we've been and what we're doing now. Many thanks to these authors for sharing their stories and spreading the news about Down Home Ranch with others. If you'd like to catch up on the latest news and current projects at Down Home Ranch, check out the DHR Blog and our Facebook Page.

TWC's 2013 12 Days of Giving Series, 12/13/2013: This article and accompanying video features beautiful images of DHR's garden and ranch enterprises; and shows the many ways DHR welcomes volunteers to join our "community of opportunity."

Down Home Ranch, 4/20/2012: Higgins unHinged blog author is a very special, very long-time friend of Jerry and Judy. He shares a bit of that personal history in this post, along with a description of the early days at Down Home Ranch.

My New Home Town, 3/21/2012: bean&noodle blog author lovingly describes her recent visit to Down Home Ranch, shares pictures and a video.

Advancing Down Syndrome Research, 3/21/2012: Texas' First Lady, Anita Perry, gives a nod to Down Home Ranch.

Down Home Ranch - 20 Years of Thanks, 4/18/2011, a video by Chris Hatcher

Checking in at the Chicken Hilton: This is a reprint of an article, written by Judy Horton, that appeared on page 72 of the February/March 2011 issue of Backyard Poultry.

News 8 Austin, 12/21/10: Poinsettias Supply Down Home Ranchers with Holiday Spirit

Austin Statesman, 10/16/10: 'Texas Chainsaw Manicure' benefits Down Home Ranch
High Plains Observer, 10/16/08: DHR Earns National Recognition for Wildfire Preparedness


Assignment America, 6/8/07: Steve Hartman, The Vacation of a Lifetime

People Magazine, 5/21/07: Heroes Among Us - Home on the Range
People Magazine, 5/21/07: Heroes Among Us - Home on the Range (with extra photos)

Originally Published in the Dallas Star-Telegram, 12/3/06: Kelly's Gift


 


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