Meet the Associate Board: Jozelle Cox
GiGi’s NYC is thrilled to spotlight Jozelle, one of our amazing Associate Board members! She is credited with co-piloting our inaugural Youth Board and providing them with the leadership and guidance needed to host their first successful fundraising event in 2022. GiGi’s NYC is immensely grateful for Jozelle’s dedication to the Down syndrome community, her compassion, and her effectiveness at mentoring future leaders. Read below to learn more about just how amazing she is:
How and when did you first get involved with GiGi’s NYC? While researching ways to get involved with the Down syndrome community in the Fall of 2020, I came across GiGi’s NYC. When I realized GiGi’s NYC’s vision was like my own, I quickly applied to become a volunteer. Griffin, GiGi’s NYC Associate Board Co-President, got in touch with me shortly after and asked if I would be interested in joining … and here I am today.
Why did you decide to join the Associate Board? Growing up with a paraplegic father and a sister who has Down syndrome was my version of a “normal” family. By the time I was old enough to notice this wasn’t the case for most people, I didn’t care, but others unfortunately did. I decided to join the Associate Board because I wanted to help grow and promote the community. I’ve always wanted my sister to be a part of a community where individuals with Down syndrome are truly accepted and embraced for who they are.
What does GiGi’s NYC mean to you? To me, GiGi’s NYC is a place of acceptance and understanding. Discovering that your loved one has Down syndrome can be overwhelming given society’s perception of the diagnosis and the limited resources available to maximize their success. So, finding a community that not only supports and advocates for individuals with Down Syndrome but hosts programs that foster understanding, friendship and community guarantees a future filled with amazing memories surrounded by those who understand and accept you.
What do you do on the Associate Board? On GiGi’s NYC Associate Board, I supervise the Youth Board (a growing group of amazing high school students). I help them coordinate and execute events, fundraise throughout the year and, most importantly, support the entire GiGi’s NYC initiative to make it the greatest place to be for individuals with Down syndrome in NYC. Last year, the Youth Board hosted their first event, Dancing for Down Syndrome, which raised over $20,000. This goes to show that individuals at all ages can support and advocate for the Down syndrome community.
What is your favorite thing about the GiGi’s NYC community? The energy I feel whenever I meet someone connected to GiGi’s NYC; from the passion volunteers unknowingly demonstrate when they use their skills and expertise to help bring GiGi’s NYC’s mission to life, to the excitement and eagerness of our participants to spread their joy and happiness to those around them. It is a truly heartwarming experience and serves as a constant reminder of why I am fortunate to be part of this community.
How do you enjoy spending your free time? During the week, I take ballet and Taekwondo classes, and on the weekends, I explore new restaurants with my friends or take spontaneous solo trips abroad.
What does Down syndrome awareness and acceptance look like to you? A world where individuals with Down syndrome are accepted for who they are and are provided the same opportunities, platforms, and resources as everyone else to succeed. A world where I don’t have to worry that someone will discriminate, disrespect, or belittle my sister simply because of the extra chromosome she was born with.
What do you want the GiGi’s NYC community to know? Don’t allow others to dim your light because the possibilities are endless for individuals with Down syndrome.
Awesome work Jozelle! Driven as always to do great things friend 🙂
Very moving interview. Thank you for your hard work and dedication to such a worthy cause Jozelle! You’re a shining example to us all.
Jozelle encouraged me to volunteer with Crisis Text Line years ago and I am still happy that I listened to her advice and joined. So I am not surprised that she continues to volunteer with other amazing organizations like this one.