Raven Rose Kern came into this world six weeks early, a surprise carrying a surprise. Throughout her life, that theme was often repeated, most notably through bouts with adversity. Despite all her battles, she always smiled and kept us smiling, lifting our spirits when we needed it most. Raven greeted everyone with a smile and a big “hi!”, and she was always introducing herself to strangers wanting quickly to become their friend.

Raven was the biggest light in the room and the biggest light in our lives. She loved us all unconditionally and taught each of us how to laugh and love a little harder. Never one to be outdone, Raven always had a good one liner or a sassy comeback at just the right moment. Her sass and spirit made every day better for everyone around. Raven opened our hearts and minds and gave us each a powerful gift that will never be forgotten. She will be missed until the end of time.

WE Step Up for Down Syndrome because WE believe children and adults with Down syndrome and their families should be able to receive much needed support and services.

As Raven's Aunt (Amanda Kern), am willfully taking the lead this year to charge RAVEN'S ROCKSTARS to return to the walk for the first time as a TEAM of family, friends and people who LOVE Raven and wish to honor her - and as a result also tell the DSACF THANK YOU for SO much support and love over the years.  For years, I've been a volunteer with DSACF to support the organization through a variety of ways. I voluntarily contribute professional photography to capture the hearts, spirit and love of those living with down syndrome and give back in ways that have helped the community show the love and life each person living with DS has. Raven has, and always will be the love, the life, and the motivating factor in all of the down syndrome photography and volunteer initiatives I have been a part of – and now, I look forward to once again spending moments with the DS community to capture the love with so many – and those amazing smiles and spirit...because this year, it will honor OUR girl Raven who I know will be with us in spirit at the walk. Every single smile we see from our beloved DS friends – will remind of of her. There will be smiles, tears, and we know the days, weeks and months as we eagerly wait for this day to honor her – the day will be tough - but a welcomed day that we know she WILL be with us in spirit. 

With your support, the Down Syndrome Association of Central Florida is there every step of the way with our families. You enable us to offer hope, encouragement and acceptance through advocacy, education and awareness as we guide individuals with Down syndrome through life’s transitions. Together through your kindness, we create a Central Florida community composed of and dedicated to individuals with Down syndrome – and those who love them – so that each may realize their potential. 

Raven's family has witnessed first hand some of the LOVE and SUPPORT this community has provided to her family – as they welcomed her into this community THIRTEEN years ago with open arms - helping them learn to accept and understand her diagnosis. By the age of 2+ she was diagnosed with leukemia and the community of families and DSACF rallied behind to offer support in a variety of ways to help them through immense hardship multiple times. Her on February 9th – again reminded us of just how special this community is – as so many in the DSACF stepped up to offer financial support and the DSACF team helped guide us in ways we could ensure we could honor her memory in the initial moments after her loss and moving forward. Her memory WILL live on - and her spirit will be with us each and every day, especially when we are with our beloved DSACF family celebrating every beautiful soul who is living with down syndrome. 

Now I CHALLENGE every single one of you who may read this - whether you are are in the family, are a friend, or a complete stranger. Whether you are a person looking for a team to join OR if you too are missing a loved one – join RAVEN'S ROCKSTARS. We aim to build THE LARGEST team to honor RAVEN and aim to be one of this year's top fundraiser - to pay our respects and honor Raven, and to extend our utmost appreciation to everyone at DSACF and within the DS community who has been there to support our girl - or has been touched by her life. Let's support this AMAZING community who does such an amazing job offering programs and services to DS families - to make sure every family moving forward gets to see the love and feel the support we witnessed Raven experience in her lifetime. We LOVE you all in the DSACF community and look forward to walking and celebrating RAVEN'S life and all of the amazing people in our community who are living with down syndrome. If you find yourself on the other side reading this tribute and call to action - and want to help us - join virtually or in person, register, donate. And if you've ever been touched by the work I've done to help this community and wish to find a way to pay it forward to help us - and DSACF - consider joining the team or making a donation in honor of Raven.




Team Members