Our Story

The Down Syndrome Association of Central Florida is an accredited and award-winning not-for-profit association founded in 1991 by parents of children with Down syndrome. It has grown from a few families to over 1,200 individuals with DS and their families. We serve families in an area of over 10 counties with help from more than 17,000 friends, professionals, volunteers and other supporters. We are governed by a volunteer board of directors. More than 50% of our board members have family members with Down syndrome.

DSACF is the leading voice for all individuals with Down syndrome and their families. We offer hope, encouragement and acceptance through advocacy, education and awareness as we guide individuals with Down syndrome through life’s transitions. Together, we create a Central Florida community composed of and dedicated to individuals with Down syndrome – and those who love them – so that each may realize their potential.


Our Team

CEO/Executive Director

Janet Caramello, MBA, CFRE

Janet is an award-winning non-profit professional with over two decades of experience as a leader, manager, and director with for-profit, not-for-profit, and government organizations with up to $50 million budgets. A graduate of University of Florida and a recent graduate of University of South Florida's Executive MBA program, her business credentials are outstanding.

Janet also has considerable expertise and passion in the field of unique abilities. She has completed the Florida Department of Developmental Disabilities Partners in Policymaking leadership and advocacy program, has been to multiple National Down Syndrome Congress conventions including the past one in Orlando, and is certified in Handwriting Without Tears, Brain Gym certified and Wright’s Law trained.  She also has been instrumental as the Chair of Florida’s Advisory Council affiliated with the Department of Health that brought us www.BrightExpectations.com as a resource for parents with a pre-natal or post-natal diagnosis of a disability.

Janet lives in central Florida with her husband Jim, her 15-year-old son Tony, and her 12-year-old daughter Raquel who is blessed with an extra chromosome. Through her experience with her daughter, Janet understands the beautiful rewards of this community and its challenges.

 
Development Manager Amy Drow

Development Manager

Amy Drow

Program Coordinator Whitney Michielssen

Program Coordinator

Whitney Michielssen

Office Administrator Susan Forster

Office Administrator

Susan Forster


Board of Directors

Janet Benge, President

Lynn Cyr, Vice President

Sean DiMercurio CPA CGMA, Treasurer

Allison Mitchell, Secretary

Catherine Davey, J.D., LL.M.

 Byron Lawson

Erin Hagood

Kieran Hill

Ben Johnson-Markve

Diane Levine

Adam Pickett

Edward J. Schwob III, Esq.

Medical Advisory Board

Comprised of physicians, psychologists, therapists, and other health care professionals who have an interest in and/or experience in caring for individuals with Down syndrome and are familiar with accepted standards of various general and subspecialty care of individuals with Down syndrome.

Dr. Sam Smith, Chair

Dr. Lynda Pollack

Dr. Jennifer Tucker

Dr. Julie Denham

Dr. Sheryl Logan

Dr. Aditi Dagli


Volunteer with Us!

 


Internship Opportunities