A Note From Everyone’s Friend – Sam Heller


Sam & Noah in Washington DC

Today’s post comes from a wonderful member of the LiveUp family – Sam Heller.  Sam attended our Washington DC program a few years ago but has been a long time leader.  He not only makes sure everyone is smiling during the program but also continues contribute throughout the year by doing things like offering to hold fundrasiers.  

Below is a note he has written to the community.  We can’t wait to see you next year either Sam!  

At LiveUp Programs I learned about hanging out with friends. And planning activities going to a baseball game.   I love meeting new people and I had a nice counselor Noah is from LA and he was telling me what he does in LA. It’s nice and warm in LA. Noah helps me with my journal and I write about what I did at LiveUp Programs. Jenna and Brian I love spending time with you you did a amazing job and you work so hard for putting live up programs together.  I love you guys so much and I can’t wait to come back next year.

Sam Heller


Meet a participant’s parent!

Jeremy at LiveUp DC during Labor Day Weekend

Jeremy at LiveUp DC during Labor Day Weekend

Jeremy has been part of LiveUp for as long as we’ve been around! So we were thrilled when his mom offered to share her story…

Jeremy has been attending LiveUp since it was established a few years ago.  For him it is about seeing his friends again – particularly the mentors he has had an opportunity to get to know.  For me, it is about his maturity, independence, and his ability to create lifelong friendships. 

In today’s world it seems like many of our children graduate from high school and the “typically developing”  friends they had there, and that they saw every day, go on to college or full-time jobs and our kids are left to work part time and perhaps attend an adult day training center – but it is a loss for them not to see these high school friends.  One of the great things about LiveUp is that Jeremy has been able to forge new friendships with both mentors and mentees.  He now has something to look forward to each year when he goes back to LiveUp Programs.  And he is able to stay in touch with many of these new friends through Facebook and email. Using social media to stay in touch has been a wonderful side effect of Jeremy’s experience at LiveUp. Continue reading

Living well at LiveUp Programs!

Steph and her participant Karin have dance party between exercises during morning wellness at LiveUp DC!

Steph and her participant Karin have dance parties between exercises during morning wellness at LiveUp DC!

Congrats to LiveUp DC mentor Steph, who ran a half marathon this past weekend! At LiveUp programs, we’re all about taking care of yourselves: eat healthy, practice good hygiene (we had a Dental Hygiene Extravaganza!), and exercising. Steph wanted to share her experiences, so take it away…

This weekend, I ran my first half marathon. I wore my LiveUp t-shirt to spread the word. Little did I know how big a role LiveUp would ultimately play in my completion of the race!

At LiveUp, we focus on wellness by talking about eating right, taking care of yourself, and exercising. LiveUp’s principles of fitness, fun, and teamwork propelled me through the final miles of the race. Just as we learned in our Morning Fitness Yoga and exercise routines at this year’s Labor Day program, fitness can be fun!  It’s about simultaneously reaching for one’s own potential, supporting and encouraging those around us to push their limits, and releasing those happy endorphins.  I had so much fun dancing, lunging, stretching, and yoga-ing during Morning Fitness at LiveUp.  Fun – the way fitness should be.  It’s no wonder I saw so many smiles, both during the half marathon and at our Morning Fitness sessions.


Want to try our Morning Fitness Routine? Click here to see our exercise routine video! Be sure to drink lots of water!

A participant’s mom shares her LiveUp experience!


Ginny’s favorite picture of her son, Phillip, from LiveUp DC during Closing Ceremony.

We were lucky enough to have Philip spend Labor Day Weekend with us at in DC. Now, his mom Ginny shares her LiveUp experience:

Our son, Phillip, does not speak.  He had a small vocabulary of words until about age 3, when he Just. Stopped. Talking.

We later learned that autism often presents at age 3, and Phillip eventually did receive the dual diagnosis of autism in addition to Down Syndrome. Because relationships depend on communication, we have learned to read Phillip’s moods and needs by his facial expressions and body language.

It spoke volumes when we pulled up to our second LiveUp weekend, and Phillip jumped out of the car, retrieved his luggage from the back seat, and took off with his new buddy, Jason, without looking back.

Continue reading

Back to the Real World!

LiveUp dance picGood Morning! Hope everyone had a great Labor Day Weekend – I KNOW the LiveUp family did! We couldn’t have done it without the hard work of the staff. We’re 100% volunteers! Staff gave up their long weekend, traveled across the country, and took time off work to be here, so we want to say THANK YOU to everyone! A note from co-founder Jenna:

Before new staff comes it is always hard to describe what you are about to experience.  Now being on the other side, I would like to start by saying “welcome to the family!” You can’t fully describe the feelings of our world – an Eddie knock-knock joke, a Shelley “Well, well, well” or a Jeremy dance move aren’t easy to put into words. However, know that the world of acceptance that you helped to create this weekend is something that everyone will be talking about (or at least trying to talk about) all year.    Continue reading

LiveUp DC! Day 2


We had an action-packed day here at LiveUp DC! We started the morning off with morning wellness, which included lunges, push-ups, stretches, and (of, course!) dance parties! We went to Red Wiggler Community Farm, where we learned about growing vegetables and picked tomatoes to donate to a local food bank. We spent some time bowling and went to the zoo! Head to our facebook page to take a look at our pictures!

LiveUp DC! Day 1

ImageLiveUp DC is off to an AMAZING start! Yesterday, we had an awesome time getting to know each other with some icebreakers, had a Dental Hygiene Extravaganza, and then a cooking class! We made hummus, pudding, breakfast for this morning (yogurt parfaits!) and sandwiches for our lunch! Check out a video of the cooking action! And check our facebook page for pictures. We’ll be posting more all weekend, so be sure to check back!

%d bloggers like this: