With heavy heart…

Please keep Friends of Down Syndrome, the students, staff and extended families in your thoughts and prayers. We have lost our founder and president, Rosa Rocha, who passed away at home February 8, 2020.


Rosa during the annual Crazy Hat Day celebration.

Rosa founded Friends of Down Syndrome and the Down Syndrome Academy in 2014 for her son, David, and all of his friends with Down syndrome. She is survived by David, his older brother Daniel, three grandchildren and her loving husband and biggest supporter, Joe.

Our hearts are heavy today but Rosa’s vision of a nonprofit organization serving adults with Down syndrome, where they can attend academic classes, socialize, practice vocational skills and grow into contributing members of our community lives on in our new North Houston campus that Rosa worked so hard to make a reality and in the smiles and full lives of our nearly 80 students.

The family asks that, in lieu of flowers, please support Rosa’s dream and her students by donating to Friends of Down Syndrome and attending or supporting our upcoming Cinderella Ball 2020, to be held on World Down Syndrome Day, March 21 at Houston’s CityCentre. For more information, visit http://www.cinderellaball.org.

Thank you for your continued support. We love you, Rosa!

Ballet class for DSA students, including specialized slippers

BalletForte dance company is back this summer teaching our Down Syndrome Academy students ballet. Anna, a Bellaire High School student and member of BalletForte, spent scholarship funds from the Bellaire High School PTO to buy materials and help construct two ballet barres for the students to use. She also secured special ballet slippers that are easy to slip on and off. One of our students said after class that he’s ready to audition for a role in BalletForte’s “The Nutcracker,” which DSA students attend each year at the Stafford Centre.

FoDS buys new building for Houston’s adults with Down syndrome

Rosa Rocha, founder of Friends of Down Syndrome, announced the purchase of a new building to house the Down Syndrome Academy. Realizing the vision, through the hard work of students, teachers, volunteers, Board members, families, parents, caregivers, guardians and friends far and wide–and the generosity of thousands of donors, has made this dream come true. Read more about this amazing story in the Houston Chronicle. Students report to class in the new building April 29th.