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We are a group of young people and self-advocates in the Down syndrome community. We assist the main board in the planning and execution of events and hold fundraisers to support the senior board. 

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Meet Our Team
"Jr Board"
We asked them what makes them unique - See their answer in blue ink.

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Kyle Erickson

Co-President & Founding VP

Kyle's Team, since 2011

My sense of humor makes me unique.  
I like to catch people off guard and make them laugh

 Graduate of North Shore High School class of 2008.  Employed part-time at First National Bank of L.I.  The Up of Down panelist; DOWNrightART exhibitions artist; ballroom dancing at Ballroom Legacy; Zumba at ACDS: Special Olympics, golf, swimming, Self-Direction.


Jaime Bernstein

Co-VP & Founding Secretary

The J-Team, since 2007

I enjoy dancing!

The J-Team, since 2007.  Jamie graduated Commack High School in June 2022 and will be attending the MOST Program at Molloy University beginning September 2022. Jamie has participated in the DOWNrightART exhibition, and The Up of Down, and enjoys hanging out with friends and dancing.

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Landon Mancini


Team Hero Up, since 2015

  Freshman at West Islip High School. Cross Country, Track & Field. His youngest brother, Avan, happens to have Down syndrome.


Francesca Sottile


          Francesca's Dreams, since 2007

I love to sing, dance, and play on my iPad

Francesca is a Sophomore in High School. She loves school, being with her friends and teachers, and learning new things.  Francesca celebrated her Sweet 16 this past March.  Francesca is more than capable, she is extraordinary. Francesca loves watching cooking shows. She lives in Port Washington, New York with her parents Barbara and Joseph, her big brother Antonio, her little sister Gabriella and her cat Madeleine.   

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Carlson "CJ" Rodriguez


          Team Carlani, since 2008

I like to help my sister Carlani and I am a good gamer. 

 Carlson ("CJ") is  13 years old. He is in the eighth grade attending Mattlin Middle School in Plainview. He is the youngest of the family. He has an older sister named Cali and younger sister Lani who happens to have Down syndrome. His favorite color is blue. He loves to play video games. In his spare time he plays with his friends and his dog Kung Pao Chicken.  

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Kellie McAuliffe

Co-PR Coordinator/Illustrator
Kellie's Koalas since 2007

I enjoy puzzles and am very good at putting them together.

Graduated from New Hyde Park Memorial.  Participant in DOWNrightART exnibitions; Rock Your Sock event in 2022. Bowling, baseball, baketball, and art classes.

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Arjun Bedi

Co-PR Coordinator/Illustrator
Team Maneet, since 2012

I love my nice, caring and responsible sister Maneet who's fun to argue with, to play with, and to talk to.  

Arjun is in Elementary school in 5th Grade. He is the middle child of the family, he has an older sister Maneet who happens to have Down Syndrome and a younger sister Nimrit. He likes to play golf, basketball and soccer. He is a responsible, hardworking child, who loves to play video games and read Dog Man books. He volunteers at StriveTogether helping kids with all abilities. 


Meghan Schaefer

Co-PR Coordinator/Social Media

"My extra chromosome makes me extra special and unique! I love to help other people and make them smile."

Meghan graduated from Commack High School in 2022.  She is a multi sport Special Oympics athlete, and has participated in state games.


Paige Gomez-Nieto


Alexander's Angels, since 2017

I was born the day before Alexander's Angels 1st L.I. Buddy Walk

Junior at JFK High School in Bellmore-Merrick where she is a member of the choir.  Member of Civil Air Patrol (CAP), Church of St. Jude.  Her cousin Alexander happens to have Down syndrome.

    group Advisers:
Eve Pollack
Eva rodriguez

Past "Junior Board" Members




Founding President & Tech Adviser

JFK HS, Bellmore, NY, 2018.  BA University of North Dakota (UND), Grand Forks, ND.  His cousin Alexander happens to have Down syndrome.




Founding Vice- President & Co-Editor

West Islip High School, 2019.  Attending SUNY College at Old Westbury, NY. Her youngest brother, Avan, happens to have Down syndrome.

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Calista "Cali"

Former Secretary

Attending Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising FIDM in LA California, graduating 2024. Calista's sister, Carlani happens to have Down syndrome.


Nicole Gomez-Nieto

Founding Co-Editor

Simsbury HS, CT, 2017.   BS Sacred Heart University, CT, 2020, summa cum laude.  MS , Sacred Heart University, 2022.  She is Alexander's oldest sister.  Alexander's Angels was established by Alexander's family.


carmel McAuliffe

Founding Illustrator

H. F. Carey HS, Franklin Square, NY.   Attending Nassau Community College, Garden City, NY.  Carmel is Kellie's sister.  Kellie is one of the Group's illustrator.


lauren gomez-Nieto

Past Co-President and

Founding Vice-Secretary

Graduated JFK High School, Bellmore, Class of 2023. Freshman at Michigan University in Ann Arbor.  Her cousin, Alexander, happens to have Down syndrome. 

Enjoy the slideshow below highlighting a few of the events we have organized since 2015

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