Providing Tools for Success


Newborn Jack was found, laid on a bed of flowers. Nate was found in a desolate area. Both abandoned by their birth parents, they would spend more than a decade of their life in an orphanage.

Jack’s vision problems were so severely neglected, he was unable to see to complete his homework. Scoliosis plagues Nate’s body and he has never been able to dress and shower himself. The boys, living together in close quarters in the orphanage, found solace in one another. Nate would help Jack with his homework and Jack would shower and dress Nate. They were like brothers the way they’d bicker, play games together and look out for each other.

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Confidence and Trust at Camp Knutson


When Mona and Kurt Hjerpe brought their daughter, Meghan, to Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota’s Camp Knutson for the first time, they were a bit nervous. They hoped she would make friends, be alright without them and learn skills to enhance her independence.

But what was different for the Hjerpes from many parents, is that Meghan has Down syndrome. That meant that though they talked about camp, and Meghan was excited to go, they weren’t sure exactly how much she understood about being away from them for a week. As a teenager with a disability, Meghan had not experienced being on her own without her close-knit family nearby.

Camp Knutson partners with the Down Syndrome Foundation to provide summer camping experiences for young people with Down syndrome. Last year, Camp Knutson served over 1,000 campers with medical or developmental needs.

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