Résumé: Co-founder and a director of Camp PALS; develops and markets a K-12 curriculum for Special Olympics Project UNIFY; founded Princeton Disability Awareness student group. Majored in psychology.
Since she was a child, Jenni Newbury, whose younger brother has Down syndrome, has worked to eliminate the stigma associated with intellectual disabilities and to create opportunities for people to develop relationships with disabled individuals. At her high school, she started a chapter of the national PALS program, which fosters friendships among students with and without intellectual disabilities by creating after-school activities. At Princeton, she founded Princeton Disability Awareness, a student group that organized an annual conference for children with Down syndrome and their families. “I will always believe that the moment you develop a friendship with someone with intellectual disabilities, it will change the way you see the world,” Newbury says. “It will change the limitations that you don’t even know that you are putting on people.”
A CAMP FOR CHILDREN WITH DOWN SYNDROME
To foster those beliefs, Newbury co-founded Camp PALS in 2004. At this one-week summer sleep-away camp at Cabrini College in Radnor, Pa., children with Down syndrome are matched one-to-one with volunteer counselors. The campers and counselors participate in everything from kickball to cooking to theater.
A LIFE’S WORK REALIZED THROUGH A BROTHER
Newbury has made advocacy her career. At Special Olympics headquarters in Washington, D.C., she works on Project UNIFY, a partnership with the U.S. Department of Education designed to encourage inclusion and acceptance in schools. As for Jason, Newbury says, “My brother has changed my life. ... I don’t know who I would be, or what I would be excited about, or what I would be passionate about without knowing him.”