Among those of us who care deeply for and about people with developmental disabilities, I hope to hear emerge a new voice, ours, rising together for the benefit of all, harmonizing with reason, respect and hope, and transcending divisions, giving birth to a new era of creative cooperation.

Toward this potential, DD EXCHANGE is for conversation, civil sounding off, sharing of stories, experience, information, resources, and inspiration, giving and receiving support, and creative problem solving.

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Thursday, July 7, 2011


Triple Tribute to Robin Sims

“Resolve is what brings us back every year and what keeps us going as advocates day in and day out, even against the odds. If not us, who? Our resolve speaks to the immediacy of the need and our unending actions to meet our daily challenges.” This statement was part of Robin Sims' last VOR President’s Message. Robin had been VOR’s President since 2008 and “resolve” describes so well her every action on behalf of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (ID/DD) and their families. "

I never met Robin, but reading about her in VOR'S letter and memorial tribute, I found myself at once, sad to have missed her and grateful for all that she had done on behalf of rights of and services for all people with DD/ID. Seeing and listening to her video tributes from VOR's website infused me with inspiration. I hope they do the same for you. The first is her brother's tribute to her and the second is one by New Jersey legislators.

Here, with permission of VOR, is an edited version of the longer letter which I found so inspiring.

"Robin served as VOR’s President since 2008 until about a few weeks before, when her health required that she resign. Her dedication to VOR was so strong she even participated in VOR’s Annual Conference and Initiative earlier in June. As the mother of two children with developmental disabilities, Robin brought to VOR a passion for our mission that is really only felt by families whose motivation is personal. Advocating and leading alongside mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers and other close relatives, she motivated others by example and reminded anyone who would listen: “If not us, who?”

Robin was not easily deterred in the face of injustice. From the Halls of Congress to living rooms as well as the Bloomfield Recreation Commission, the National Advocacy of Families, and also a seat on the N.J. Council of Developmental Disabilities, Robin’s advocacy meant the difference between desolation and salvation for countless individuals and their families. Perhaps Robin’s greatest gift to our advocacy movement is her legacy. She has left us with the wisdom, the energy, and the knowledge to know we can carry on - that we must carry on. Her legacy will not fill the hole in our hearts, but will sustain our advocacy on behalf of all people with ID/DD.

VOR represents a necessary voice: VOR is the only national advocacy organization for people with ID/DD that stands up for the right of individuals and their families to choose from a full array of service options to meet very diverse needs (www.vor.net). VOR respects choice and embraces the individual and family voices as primary.

Robin's brother, Geofff, wrote: .

"This evening our lovely Robin passed away. Ever the fighter she gave every last breath to helping others! I am such a better person for having her as my sister and our kids are so much better off today having her as their advocate." Geoff also produced the incredibly moving video at http://youtu.be/bcEInf2tKxI Is it Robyn's incredible , singing that can be heard throughout tthroughout the tribute? She had been a concert soloist and member of the NYC Opera Co.

Following Geoff's tribute to his sister, you can find just behind it a tribute to her by state legislators.

Robin's family has set up the “Robin Sims Memorial Fund” as way to keep Robin’s passion for advocacy on behalf of people with intellectual disabilities alive. They see a managed and ongoing fund as a way to sustain Robin's incredible dedication to advocacy on behalf of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The fund will assist VOR, her local organizations, and families in need. To contribute, make checks made payable to the “Robin Sims Memorial Fund”.
Send to:
Robin Sims Memorial Fund
356 Jarome St.
Brick, N.J. 08724

For more information and a beautiful photo of Robin, just click on the title of this post.
In gratitude,