Our Staff

Lauren Camp Gates, Executive Director

Email: executivedirector@dsadelaware.org | Phone: 302-995-1004

Lauren began working for the Down Syndrome Association of Delaware in March of 2014 as Program Director. She became Executive Director on June 1, 2017.

Lauren first became involved with the DSA of DE as a volunteer in 2010 for numerous yearly events. She continued her volunteer efforts in 2012 when she started the Days of Summer Camp Program. This program continues to this day and serves over 150 children a year. Lauren was presented with The Down Syndrome Advocacy Award from the DSA of DE in March of 2013 for her outstanding volunteering efforts.

Lauren currently serves as Past President for Down Syndrome Affiliates in Action. She previously worked for the National Down Syndrome Congress from 2013-2022. She is also co-founder of Down to Box, a national non-profit which teaches boxing techniques to individuals with Down syndrome.

Lauren graduated from the University of Delaware with a Bachelor’s degree in Public Policy with a minor in Disabilities Studies. Her Master’s degree is in Public Administration with a specialization in Nonprofit Management. She lives in Wilmington, DE with her husband, Bryce, their son, Easton, and dog, Bailey.

Kathleen McCormick, Program and Communications Coordinator

Email: programs@dsadelaware.org | Phone: 302-388-2390

Kathleen first became involved with the DSA of DE in 2016 as a volunteer for the Days of Summer Camp. In 2019, she began serving on the Delaware Down Syndrome Walk committee as a volunteer, and she was hired full-time in April of 2021. Kathleen graduated from the University of Delaware in May 2018 with a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and minors in Sociology and Disabilities Studies. She worked for the State of Delaware in Child Welfare for 3 years before joining the DSA of DE.

As Program and Communications Coordinator, Kathleen is responsible for planning all of the DSA of DE’s events/programs, running our social media pages and website, and our fundraising efforts. Kathleen is a Delaware native and has a cat named Mo.

Nancy Bennett, Community Liaison

Email: office@dsadelaware.org | Phone: 302-577-0005

Nancy Bennett is a lifelong Delawarean. She was raised near Bethany Beach, lived in Wilmington for nine years and settled in Middletown for the past twenty-four years. She and her husband Dan, a Wilmington attorney, have three amazing daughters, Bethany, Julie and Caroline who are all grown up and making their mark on the world.
Nancy is a 1987 graduate of University of Delaware with a degree in elementary education, and has taught up and down the state for the last thirty-five years. The last twenty-one years were spent as a third grade teacher and a middle school math teacher and advisor. She is also an active member at Saint Anne’s Episcopal Church.
Nancy became interested in the DSA of Delaware after feeling inspired by a presentation about World Down Syndrome Day given by Susan and Laura Scott at her school in the spring of 2023. Listening to the personal statements of the young people and seeing their strong connections touched everyone in the gym that day. Having the opportunity to join such an active community of advocates and supporters as the Community Liaison is a wonderful life-shift after retiring from teaching and she is excited to get to know and assist the Down syndrome community.


Outreach Staff

Susan Blessington, Outreach Coordinator

Email: outreach@dsadelaware.org | Phone: 302-464-6276

Susan Blessington has been involved with the DSADE since 2000 when her son, Conor, was born with Down syndrome. Before coming on part time as the DSADE Outreach Coordinator, Susan volunteered with the outreach committee for many years. She and her husband are also proud parents of Clare and Sean. Susan loves connecting with new families and providing them resources to help at any stage of their journey. Beyond her work with the DSADE, she volunteers with various organizations such as Waggies by Maggie and Friends, a dog treat company that employs adults with intellectual disabilities. Susan and her family love traveling and spending time at the beach. If you visit the Down Syndrome Clinic at Nemours, you will likely meet her!

Ari Avila, Spanish Outreach Coordinator

Email: spanish@dsadelaware.org | Phone: 302-455-8705

Ari Avila was born in Mexico but raised in her home state of DE since the early age of six is a proud and busy wife and mother to four wonderful children; one whom happens to have Down syndrome. Ari is fully bilingual in both English and Spanish.

She graduated with high honors and received her national certification as a Medical Assistant back in 2013, even though she has chosen not to be employed in the medical field she has volunteered at the Down syndrome clinic at Nemours. She has also volunteered with the Down Syndrome Association of DE as an outreach parent for Spanish speaking families welcoming them and providing resources, as well as translating important information. Her love for her son Eric and her own experiences has opened a passion to help other families experiencing the diagnosis of Down syndrome specially within the Spanish Speaking community. She wants to engage more with influential decision makers and thought leaders within the Down syndrome community to bring respect and awareness. She’s open to challenges, conversations, and an exchange of ideas from Down syndrome associations, hospitals, clinics and most importantly families.

Ari resides in New Castle County with her husband Jesus, and their four children Eric 22, Thais Karina 16, Giovanni 9, Alfonzo 5 and two fur babies Jalapeño and Princess.