LukeLuke was a stubborn, strong-willed and energetic nine year old, with Downs Syndrome. Although his parents Steven and Christie had high expectations they were also very aware of his challenges. When the family decided to take a ski vacation to Park City, they weren’t sure that Luke could or would join them.

On Luke’s first visit to Utah, he started small. Coming from Texas the harsh Utah cold was almost too much for Luke. Forget about getting on the slopes: he spent most of his first day inside. The next day marked the first step in winter proficiency: learning to put gloves on, and keeping them on – a small but significant victory.

Luke was then teamed with a National Ability Center instructor and an assistant volunteer. “Immediately he took to them, and off they went,” his dad Steven said. “After lunch he went down his first green slope. This is one of my proudest memories of Luke because he accomplished something he wanted to do.”

“The most rewarding part is seeing Luke ski,” shared Steven. “I never thought that would be possible and not only can he do it, but he does it fairly well! He focuses well on the slope and truly experiences joy as he is skiing. This helps us see that Luke will do great things with his life, because of his uniqueness.”

At the Heart of Our Community are people like Luke and organizations like the National Ability Center that offers a broad range of programs for individuals with physical, cognitive and emotional disabilities. With an emphasis on safety, education and fun, the National Ability Center strives to identify and develop year-round recreational opportunities which might otherwise be inaccessible and unavailable to these individuals and their families. It’s what makes Our Community great!

For more information about the NAC and their programs or to volunteer or donate visit

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