2018 Year in Review

Hope Story 2018 Year In Review

What an exciting year 2018 has been for Hope Story!

A year ago, we had no logo, no website, no Board of Directors. In fact, we weren’t even an official organization. What a difference a year can make.

Today Hope Story is a recognized 501(c)(3) non-profit public charity, and well on our way of providing hope to families who whose child has just received a Down syndrome diagnosis.

We were able to accomplish a lot in 2018, and I wanted to share some of what we accomplished this year with you. Please take less than three minutes to watch the short video below, then scroll down to read more detail about our accomplishments this year (you’ll even get to see some early concepts of our logo.)

I hope you are encouraged as you watch and read below!

Hope Story 2018 Year in Review

  1. We Were Able to Name Our Organization, “Hope Story.” –  My wife and I had the initial idea for Hope Story (connecting parents of children with Down syndrome to parents whose child just received a Down syndrome diagnosis via their medical professional) over five years ago. We bought this domain but didn’t move forward on it really until earlier this year. Due to a trademark issue we weren’t sure we were going to be able to use the name “Hope Story.” However, as you can see it worked out. (In fact, this turned out to be an amazing story.)
  2. We created a brand identity for Hope Story including a logo, fonts, color palette. – A brand identity is such an important piece for any organization, and I think we were able to come up with a beautiful identity that is hopeful, fun, professional, and represents our brand well. Below you will find our style guide  (as well as some early concepts of our logo just for fun!)

Initial Logo Concepts

It took a little while before we landed on our current logo, and I thought it would be fun to share some of the initial logo concepts for Hope Story with you.

Getting closer…

As you can see, we landed on a combination of the top two logos. The two vertical lines in our logo resemble a chromosome when viewed under a microscope, which represent two families, and the circle connecting each vertical line represent one family connecting to another (the Hope Advocate process.)

It’s hard to impinge our logo and color pallet being anything other than what it is now!

3. We Developed a Board of Directors. –  It’s been said that leadership matters, like nothing else. An organization can rise, and fall based on its leadership which is why I’m thankful to serve alongside an all-star team of gifted and caring leaders (including my son, who is an “honorary” board member.)

I’m thankful for how this team has come together, and I’m thankful for each of our board members willingness to give of their time, talents, and treasure to help us bring hope to families whose child has just received a Down syndrome diagnosis.

You can read more about our board members by clicking here.

Hope Story Board of Directors

4. We developed a Medical Advisory Board. – I wanted Hope Story to also have a Medical Advisory Board (MAB) that would commit to reviewing the resources we produce as well as provide valuable feedback in order to help us produce the high quality (and medically accurate) resources. As of today, our Medical Advisory Board consists of nine medical professionals (including two of our Board of Directors) and includes pediatricians, OB/GYN’s, a maternal and fetal medicine doctor, and a pediatric interventional cardiologist. Again, an all-star team! (You can view our Medical Advisory Board by clicking here.)

5. We developed a (beautiful) cinematic trailer. – One of our #1 goals at Hope Story is to connect every OB/GYN in America to a family raising a child with Down syndrome, so they in turn, can connect their patients whose child has just received a Down syndrome diagnosis, to them. We call this the Hope Advocate Process and we think it has the power to change the world.

I wanted to create a beautiful video that communicated the sort of impact the Hope Advocate process could have, and I think the video turned out great. If you haven’t had the opportunity to view our cinematic trailer, please take a few minutes to do so by clicking play on the video below.

(Fun Fact: The couple “playing” the mom and the dad receiving the news that their child will likely be born with Down syndrome in our video, isn’t playing the role. The dad in the video Michal Young (one of our Board Members) and his wife, Odila, who are parents of a sweet little girl who has born with Down syndrome.)

6. We hosted two Hope Gatherings. – Hope Gatherings are an opportunity for people with Down syndrome, and their families, to connect with other families in their local community, learn about local Down syndrome organization(s) in their community, and receive information about how they can use their unique story to be a source of hope to a family whose child has just received a Down syndrome diagnose as a Hope Advocate…and have some fun.

This year we were able to hold two Hope Gatherings; one at the Denver Zoo, and another at GiGi’s Playhouse NYC, and they were a blast! Be sure to click the links to read more about each of those Hope Gatherings.

Denver Hope Gathering

hopegathering denver zoo 2018

Hope Gathering – NYC

families raising children with down syndrome nyc

We look forward to hosting Hope Gatherings in additional cities in 2019! If you’re interested in Hope Story hosting a Hope Gathering in your city, please send us a message.

7. We exhibited at the National Down Syndrome Congress (NDSC) Annual Convention.The National Down Syndrome Congress hosts a yearly convention for parents and family members, self-advocates (individuals with Down syndrome), professionals, and, and community advocates, and this year Hope Story was in attendance as an exhibitor.

We had the opportunity to talk with families of children with Down syndrome and introduce them to Hope Story. Our hope is that we can help each of those families use their unique story to bring hope to others.

Be sure to click here to read about our time at the NDSC Annual Convention, and see pictures of our booth, and some of the many families we had the privilege to meet!

hope story leadership 2018

In addition, we were able to produce beautiful items to use for our both for this conference, Hope Gatherings, and other events our organization may attend in the future, which you can see below.

hope story conference booth at Down syndrome conference

8. We created Hope Announcements and Hope Advocate Contact Cards. – One of our goals is to help medical professionals get to know a family raising a child with Down syndrome. Our main way of achieving this goal will be by signing up Hope Advocates. Hope Advocates will answer some questions, and upload a photo of their child, we then take that information and turn them in beautiful Hope Announcements and Hope Advocate Contact Cards that families can share with their medical professionals. Every year Hope Advocates will have the opportunity to create and purchase new Hope Announcements so that they can share them with their medical professional each year updating them on their child.

Hope Announcements

Hope Advocate Contact Cards



9. We are Developing a way for Hope Advocates to Easily Create and Preview their Hope Announcements and Contact Cards Online. – Each Hope Advocate will receive unique Hope Announcements and Hope Advocate Contact Cards. We wanted to find an easy way for families to create and preview these cards (and complete the Hope Advocate sign up process), and we think we are close to accomplishing this goal.

We have been working with a developer to create a custom sign up form, and below you can see a working example of how the form will work.

10. We are in the process of developing resources for the medical community and the patients they serve. – We are in the process of producing a Hope Booklet which answers eight questions a new parent may have about raising a child with Down syndrome, and a, “How to Deliver a Down Syndrome Diagnosis,” and “Preferred Language Guide” for medical professional.

These resources will help the medical community deliver a Down syndrome diagnosis with accuracy and hope.

11. Additional Achievements in 2018. – In addition to all of the above, we incorporated Hope Story, received our EIN, set up a bank account for Hope Story, started fund-raising, connected with other Down syndrome organizations about Hope Story possibly helping them help their parents, and have had over 1,300 people sign up for our Hope Advocate informational list (which, if you’re the parent of a child with Down syndrome, you can do so by clicking here. In addition we encourage everyone reading this to sign up for our general email list by clicking here.)

Bonus Item #12. We obtained our 501(c)(3) status from the IRS. – We recently received news from the IRS that Hope Story, Inc. is now a recognized 501(c)(3) public charity! We’re excited to end 2018 with this exciting news.

hope story determination letter

What’s in Store for 2019?

We have some exciting things in store for 2019 including producing the material for our Hope Kits and sending them out to our Hope Advocates!  We can’t wait to recruit, equip, and resource families of children born with Down syndrome help bring hope to families whose child just received a Down syndrome diagnosis. Our goal is to connect every OB/GYN in America to a family of a child with Down syndrome, so they, in turn, can connect them to their patients whose child has just received a Down syndrome diagnosis.

Help Us Bring Hope to Others

If you’d like to help us bring hope to others and you live in AZ, DE, ID, IA, ID, IN, MT, NE, SD, TX, VT, WY would you consider clicking here and making a year-end donation (or setting up monthly donation) of any amount? Your donation will help us bring hope to others!

If you’re parent of a child with Down syndrome, please click here and sign up on our Hope Advocate informational list by entering your email address in the from at the bottom of the page.

For everyone else, please stay connected to us by subscribing to the Hope Story email list, follow us on Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

Thank You

I want to personally say thank you to everyone who has encouraged me on this journey. Many of you have followed our story since our son was very young, and I appreciate your kind words and friendship. It is our family’s privilege to call so many of you our friends. I also want to thank everyone who has supported Hope Story financially. The fact that you would believe in what we’re doing enough to invest in us financially means a great deal to me. I hope you will continue to do so moving forward. Your donation is helping us help others! If you ever have any questions for me, please send me a message.

It’s been an incredible 2018, and I’m excited about what’s in store for 2019!

We’re just getting started, stay tuned.

– Rick Smith

President and Founder, Hope Story

Comments 1

  1. Dear Noah,
    Thank you from bottom of my heart for giving me hope when I born my son Jan an year ago.
    Everything you manage to acomplish in your short life represent a light at the end of tunel for me! You are so very lucky to be raised by your beautiful, brave and strong parents! Love, Narcisa&Jan

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