|Donalda Jones's dream is that all people are able to live a good life. This includes people with high-level physical disabilities. It is for that reason Donalda created the REALM Foundation. REALM Ripplinger Ehmann and La Borde Mang Foundation became a registered charity in April of 2008.
Donalda's son Steven was diagnosed with Duchenne's muscular dystrophy in 1990 at the age of five. It was at this time that Donalda began her journey into the disability movement. Donalda always knew that no matter what the challenges, Steven needed and deserved the same opportunities in life as any other child. Yet what she found over the years was that resources were hard to come by and the resources that were available came from a belief that Steven was broken and needed to be fixed, that Steven was a medical problem and not a person with unique needs and gifts.
Donalda's journey was often hard and overwhelming. The work of ensuring that Steven belonged everywhere was endless. Eventually Donalda accepted help and established Steven's Support Network which not only enhanced Steven's life, but also it served to help Donalda define her work.
She was no longer willing to fight, argue, debate or be at war with others to get what was needed. She was no longer willing to quietly watch other families fight for what they need and lose themselves in that fight. She knew that there had to be a better and new way of doing things. She wanted to advocate, educate and be of help in a gentler, kinder and loving way. She wanted to create a new REALM, founded to help people with disabilities and their families live the life that they determine they want.
Donalda felt so strongly about this that she along with the 6 initial board members adopted Martin Luther King's loving actions into REALM's philosophy. REALM will always be grateful for the support of the original Board of Directors who believed in Donalda's vision and worked side by side with her to create a more loving community. Thank you to Des Hill, Cheryl Milne, Sherry Baiton, Verna Mang, and Patricia La Borde for joining Donalda Jones in this journey.