Three years ago, Chris Doty said he would have never thought he would be a part of the TCU family. That was before he enrolled his daughter Savannah, who was born with Down syndrome, in KinderFrogs.
Savannah and her sister ran around the Brown-Lupton University Union Auditorium during the fourth annual Froggy Games Saturday. They were sliding on scooters, jumping through hula hoops and dancing to music provided by Chords For Kids.
At Froggy Games volunteers from KinderFrogs and Best Buddies and people from the TCU community came together to play games to help spread awareness about Down syndrome.
Volunteers played with children while parents talked and listened to guest speaker Jeremy Crosswell from the Best Buddies chapter at SMU.
Xavier Montes, a member of the Fort Worth community, said he was scared when he found out his niece, Madison, had Down syndrome. He said he felt better after finding support groups such as TCU’s KinderFrogs and Best Buddies.
Celia Leyva, another member of the Fort Worth community, said learning about her daughter's genetic disorder has made her humble.
“We go places and you see everyone look at Madison and give her a second look,” Leyva said.
Leyva said she wants Madison to be able to do whatever she wants in life.
“If she wants to be one her own, let her be on her own. If she wants to date, even though she’s only four, you know, we have the courage to let her do that in this society,” Leyva said.
Lauren Dudderar, a senior early childhood education major, said her cousin, John, was diagnosed with Down syndrome. At age four, the doctors told him he would not be able to speak. Now, not only does John speak well, but also is attending college courses.
Dudderar said her cousin's success was possible because of the people who helped him along the way and had a passion for inclusion.
“[The families and volunteers] all have something in common, and that’s inclusion,” the early childhood education major said. “It’s just something that goes beyond what your major is and where you are from.”
Dudderar said she wanted to get members from Best Buddies and the TCU community involved. Dudderar said she spread the word about the event through student organizations and fliers posted around campus.
This year there were 18 volunteers and 20 participants as opposed to last year's 12 volunteers and 14 participants, Dudderar said.