Marianne is sister and long time co-guardian to her oldest brother, Joey who has Down Syndrome. She recently authored a children book called Will YOU Be My Friend? A book about teaching children we are more alike than different with her brother as the main character. She earned a dual degree in Elementary and Special Education from Northern Arizona University. Before becoming an author, Marianne taught for five years and then became a professional advocate at a center for parents of children with special needs. Outside of her sibling speaking presentations Marianne also works as a statewide trainer for AZ Bridge to Independent Living. Recent experiences with Joey’s services and agencies have given Marianne the motivation to affect positive changes. Her goals include educating, empowering and encouraging families, providers and agencies through improving accessibility and dissemination of quality resources through her children’s book series and speaking engagements. To have Marianne come speak about her sibling experience young and old contact her at and

And now, our Team Questions:

Who is your favorite Muppet?



What song do you sing in the shower?

Worship songs

What’s your favorite food?

Mexican is my favorite food

How do you relax?

I enjoy spending time with my hubby and Joey. But also I like to sing praise and worship and pray with friends.

What do you think about DS-Connect?

We are registered but that is it. Haven’t done anything else or kept up.

How do you feel about sheltered workshops?

They are needed but need to be reformed and redesigned to focus on the person desires and needs and not their limits.

Where do you see your loved one living after age 30?

Joey will be in the same place if all continues to go well. Moving is not easy and gets harder as he ages.

What is one thing you want the world to know about your son/brother?

I want the world to know that Joey is full of life even at 54. He enjoys a good party with plenty of pretty girls and babies.