My name is Kim Dowling and I am a MSW intern at the DSAGSL office. I have a brother/ best friend named Sean who has Down syndrome and he brings an unlimited amount of happiness and joy to my life. Sean loves to laugh, sing, dance, and make other people smile. My brother’s ability to accomplish difficult challenges and always smile inspires me to be more like him and use my life to help others. The passion my brother has given me has lead me to become a social worker and advocate for people with disabilities.
My experience interning at the DSAGSL has been incredible. I have been given the opportunity to write grants, co-facilitate the Silver Steps Support Group, and was able to join the Young Friends Board. I was even able to go to Jefferson City on Disability Advocacy Day with a four self-advocates and speak to legislators about the importance of equal rights for individuals with disabilities. The most meaningful learning experience that I have had during my time with DSAGSL has been conducting a thorough needs assessment to identify gaps in services for adults aging with Down syndrome and their caregivers. I am intrigued by the responses that we have received from caregivers and I am thankful for everyone who contributed to our needs assessment. I have enjoyed reading the results of the survey and speaking with caregivers to hear what their loved one has accomplished and where they need more support. Now I get to take the feedback we received and develop an Aging Toolkit. The Aging Toolkit will consist of resources and services that are provided in St. Louis City, St. Louis County, and St. Charles County for adults with Down syndrome. Our hope is that the Aging Toolkit will be a resource for caregivers to turn to when they are unsure of what to do next or to explore other services that are available for their loved one with Down syndrome. I am grateful for all of the knowledge that I have gained during my time with DSAGSL and for all of the support and encouragement I have received from the DSAGSL staff and community.