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KEEN On the Move!

News, Inspiring Stories and Information from KEEN Greater DC


In This Issue
KEEN Athlete Profile
KEEN GR DC In Baltimore
KEENFest 2013
Athletes for Hope
KidsEuro Festival
Make a Planned Gift

KEEN Athlete Profile:

Damani Tichawonna

"Damani has been a KEEN athlete since 2006, when the organization held its first KEEN DC session in the auditorium of Payne Elementary School in SE Washington, DC. As KEEN has expanded its offering of activities over the years, Damani has been a primary beneficiary. What began with one event, KEEN sports, now includes KEEN music, swim, soccer and Tae Kwon Do. Although he enjoys all of these activities, he'll tell you, without hesitation, his favorite is basketball.


KEEN offers just the right blend of one-on-one coaching and group activity to boost Damani's confidence and teach him the concept of teamwork. The enthusiasm of the volunteer coaches makes for such a welcoming environment that Damani is eager to play as soon as he walks in the door. Over the years, Damani has formed a special bond with three KEEN team members, Beth, Hillary and Jonathan. Like most children with Down Syndrome, Damani can't stand to break his routine. When he was new to the program, he'd love to jump into their arms, wrapping his legs around their waist-especially his favorite, Hillary. It was so cute... when he was 6! However, at 13 and over 100lbs,  this has become a backbreaking proposition. Every now and then, he still attempts this ritual. Old habits are hard to break. Luckily, the KEEN team is courteous and professional in explaining that he's too big for that now. His exposure to people of different ethnicities and cultures on a weekly basis has strengthened his social skills. KEEN gives my son, something to look forward to and lobby for (as if we'd miss an activity) every weekend. KEEN has played such an integral part in Damani's development; I shutter to think what his life would look like without it." Sowande Tichawonna
What Makes KEEN Unique?

Programs are:
  • Free of charge
  • Non-competitive
  • Open to children with any type or severity of disability
  • Run by volunteers
  • Funded solely by the community  

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MAY 5, 2014 

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Through KEEN's partnership with Johns Hopkins University's Neuroscience Program, KEEN programs opened their doors to children with special needs in Baltimore this October. We welcomed twenty new athletes and their parents to our growing KEEN family. At the Baltimore sessions, JHU Neuroscience majors are assisting our kids as their coaches. KEEN's one-on-one format gives the JHU students a unique opportunity to interact with, and learn from children with neurological disabilities. At the same time, our Baltimore athletes get the opportunity to play, exercise, have fun, and explore their abilities.

KEENFest 2013
Hosted by WUSA 9 news anchor, Derek McGinty and sponsored by Joyce Koons Honda Buick GMC and Davis Wright Tremaine LLP (Burt Braverman and Kathleen Meredith), KEENFest 2013 celebrated 21 years of Kids Enjoying Exercise Now. The event, our 13th annual dinner gala, raised over $155,000!

A highlight of the gala was the recognition of Joyce Koons Honda Buick GMC with the Distinguished Service Award for their outstanding support of KEEN Greater DC's programs.As part of their Driven by Community campaign, the dealership has donated $115,000 to support KEEN's programs in just the past two year!  In addition, KEEN coaches Michele Doyle and Jonathan Daulte received the Volunteer of the Year Award for their dedication and tireless efforts as members of our coaches committee, helping run KEEN's swim, sports, soccer and basketball programs, and providing invaluable support for KEEN's programs and athletes. Congratulations to Jonathan, Michele and Joyce Koons Honda Buick GMC!  


Fun was had by all when auctioneer Steve Little took to the stage to preside over an exuberant live auction that featured terrific items such as a trip to Bermuda, VIP tickets to The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and a wine tasting trip to California. 


The evening ended on a high note with a performance by, and dancing to the music of, The Morrison Brothers Band.

Check our photo gallery here!


Athletes for Hope partners with KEEN 

Athletes for Hope (AFH) is a national non-profit organization that was founded in 2007 by a group of ten elite athletes who all share a common bond - a deep commitment to helping others. Today, AFH directly guides the philanthropy of thousands of athletes from all over the country. AFH is very proud to connect Adam Durham of USA Track and Field with KEEN Greater DC. Adam's participations started with the KEEN Sports Festival in June and from that point on, Adam was sold on KEEN's great work. Adam has volunteered for a number of sessions, and is in the process of becoming a regular KEEN Gr DC volunteer.


Thanks to our host, the Embassy of France, more than 120 KEEN Greater DC families and other area families of children with special needs enjoyed a full day of fun activities during our special KidsEuroFestival on Nov. 2.


The day started with "Garbage for Plums," a play based on a Bulgarian fairytale in which a man tries to find a suitable wife by traveling from village to village trading plums for women's household garbage.   A dancer from Finland then led a movement workshop that taught the elements of dance and challenged attendees to imagine what your dance moves would be if you were, say, a feather, a stone, or a pile of spaghetti.


KEEN's core volunteers were also on hand throughout the day to lead everyone in arts and crafts and zumba dancing, and provide face painting to all.

The day concluded with "An Old Clown and the Sea." In this humorous performance piece from Poland, an old clown captivated the audience as he went out fishing and encountered a storm and a hungry shark and reeled in trash instead of fish.


Make a Planned Gift to KEEN Gr DC

You can bring the gifts of fun, fitness and friendship to future generations of youth with disabilities through a planned gift to KEEN Greater DC. Your gift  will make it possible for KEEN to continue offering its innovative programs completely free of charge for many years to come.  When you give to KEEN Greater DC through securities, bequests or other long term financial plans, you are joining your life legacy with our mission to foster the self-esteem, confidence, skills and talents of our athletes through non-competitive activities, allowing young people facing even the most significant challenges to meet their individual goals.


Interested in learning more?  Please contact Elizabeth Doherty at 301-775-7572 or  

We Want to Hear From You 

You can make KEEN On the Move! as informative as possible. Please let us know what YOU want to read about.  Know an athlete, volunteer, business or donor who is creating acceptance and opportunities through KEEN Greater DC?  Send your ideas to


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