Faces of GCDSS

Alex & Wyeth Stewart

Christian & Luke Denoux

Dakota Hansen

Darius Davis

Lois Anne Hamner


Our Mission

The purpose of the Gulf Coast Down Syndrome Society is to build a supportive network for families and individuals with Down syndrome to share information, strength and hope. It is our mission to ensure that all people with Down syndrome have the opportunity to achieve their full potential in community life. At the same time, it is our goal to provide children and adults with Down syndrome peer groups in which they can form lifelong friendships. Parents, family members, individuals with Down syndrome, and anyone else interested in learning more are welcome to attend any of the events sponsored by GCDSS.

History of GCDSS

The Gulf Coast Down Syndrome Society (GCDSS) was established in 2004. There is a great need for the organization in our area to be an advocate for the children with Down syndrome as well as their families.

Through the existence of GCDSS, Inc., communication to new parents is increasing and advocacy on behalf of our children is stronger. Each year we have more than 1,000 supporters walk in our Annual Buddy walk. This is an amazing effort to show support of our children.

Each time a new precious child is born with DS - through our involvement with the area hospitals - we are notified and quickly respond with a New Parent Guide. Parents from all over have expressed that regardless of who their doctor or hospital was when their child was born - there was very little support or information made available to assist them through one of the most profound life altering and emotional events in their lives. Regardless of whether a parent receives the diagnosis pre-natal or at birth, the New Parent Guide includes answers to many immediate questions as well as provides them with resource information. We let these new parents know that we are there to support them and are only a phone call or e-mail away.

In addition, GCDSS also has a lending library of books on a variety of topics relating to Down syndrome in which parents can check out without having to purchase.

GCDSS is quickly growing and expanding our network all over the Gulf Coast Mississippi area. We reach out to new and existing families through the media, local disability resources, healthcare providers, our website and word of mouth

GCDSS continues to have many plans and goals for our future. We rely solely on donations from corporate sponsorships and individual donations to fund all of our activities. GCDSS is run by a host of volunteers, therefore, there is no overhead costs for paid staff or offices and our funding goes directly to support our mission.

Get Involved

Check out our support group schedule or a list of our upcoming events. We strive to keep these event current so please check back on a regular basis for the latest information.

GCDSS Board of Directors

Executive Director



Riley McIlwain

Vice President

Nikki Palermo-Denoux


Dana Drake


Robert Rominger

Past President

Cindy Hansen

Self Advocate

Boe Collins

Board Member

Devin Bellman

Board Member

Brandi Berkhimer

Board Member

Aleshia Jones

Board Member

Penny Tripp