Common Ground Society - Community Hero

Common Ground Society


Community Hero

Nominated by

Kandice Rose, Sequoia Wright-Medina, Taylor Baldry, Emily Peterson, Carrie King, Susan Langer

Presented by

Karen Weeks, Merit Awards Committee


Common Ground Society is for any caregiver who has ever felt alone and scared when their child was diagnosed with a disability. This group is for all disabilities, no matter how common or rare. Common Ground Society was founded in 2017 when Larkin O’Leary and Jessica Hunter did a presentation on Down Syndrome at their children’s preschool for World Down Syndrome Day. They have made presentations at local elementary schools, hospitals, and colleges teaching about acceptance and inclusion. To date, they have reached more than 17,000 people sharing the message that you can be the one to include someone – “start with a smile and say hello."

Working to expand inclusive services and practices for all children with disabilities, Common Ground Society offers a place for parents with children with disabilities to meet monthly. The children also get time to play together with volunteers. Meetings are held in English and Spanish. The organization also consults with businesses to teach them how to increase accessibility to special-needs children.

During the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, Common Ground Society revamped their outreach methods to offer virtual presentations to all different types of groups, spreading the word of acceptance and inclusion.

The work of the Common Ground Society has filled a niche in our community, providing support to people who feel alone and educating and empowering everyone to be accepting and inclusive.

Photos of Recipient in Action

Click on any photo(s) below to view larger image.


Photos of Awards Ceremony

Click on any photo(s) below to view larger image.


Return to City Merit Awards Recipients Landing Page


Return to Staff Directory