Comedy Sportz in Philly!

We had an AWESOME time at LiveUp Philly and want to give a HUGE THANKS to Comedy Sportz! Nurse Rachel wrote a poem to show her  appreciation!

The LiveUp weekend has been great
But one activity made it especially first rate
First we had some guests come and teach us to act
We loved learning improv that is a fact
To comedy sportz show we went on Friday
Laughing and laughing at all the cast had to say
We got to participate and had the greatest time
They rapped they acted sometimes they even did rhyme
So funny so witty so entertaining the show
We already are so excited for next year to go!

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Meet Emily and Lisa!

image1This post is written by Emily Simino, LiveUp San Diego Director!

LiveUp is a place where strangers turn into friends and friends turn into family. It’s an experience unlike any other and one that has brought me some of the most amazing friends I could ever hope to have! One of those people, is my good friend Lisa Newtop. Lisa and I both attended our first LiveUp program, in San Diego, in 2014. We became fast friends and learned that we had a lot in common! Lisa has attended LiveUp San Diego for two years and is very excited about attending her third program this August!

Lisa is sassy, outgoing and friendly. She loves to experience new things and destinations. She likes to travel with family, but also really likes to travel independently like “when I get to fly by myself on an airplane to San Diego and I have my plane ticket on my cell phone”. Lisa travels frequently, “I just went to Maui and swam with turtles!” she exclaimed as we were talking. She then went on to remember when she and I got to swim with dolphins in Mexico together and she “thought it was a shark!” We have had many fun times together, but the most fun is always at LiveUp San Diego.

Some of Lisa’s favorite LiveUp activities have been visiting the equestrian center and spending time with horses, as well as kayaking and having a barbecue on the beach. Another thing that Lisa loves about LiveUp is “the arts and crafts stuff we do sometimes”. I asked Lisa what she was looking forward to the most about LiveUp this year and without hesitation Lisa answered, “the dance!” which is by far one of the best nights of LiveUp every year.

Lisa went on to explain how much she loves that LiveUp focuses on healthy living. Lisa swims, does aerobics and participates in Zumba every Thursday in order to maintain her healthy lifestyle. She also loves to eat healthy foods like “protein smoothies so I don’t get hungry…. Carrot sticks and celery sticks are really good too”. She has passed on some of the knowledge she’s learned at LiveUp with her 20 year old son, Nic.

The last question I asked Lisa was “if someone was not sure if they should come to LiveUp or not, what would you tell them?” She responded very fast, “that they should fill out the form that says that they’re coming because it’s really fun!” Lisa is so right, it is really fun!

Sitting down with Lisa just made me even more excited for LiveUp San Diego 2016! I can’t wait to be reunited with all of my old friends, and form new friendships with people I have yet to meet. See you guys soon!

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LiveUp Philly 2016: The Recap

Is LiveUp Philly 2016 already over?  We can’t believe that the weekend flew by so quickly.
Here are some highlights:
Water Park Fun: On Saturday morning our group beat the heat and headed to Sahara Sam’s for the ultimate water park experience.  The 13308146_909899835821971_7458525809972320127_ocrowd favorites were the family tube slide and the wave pool.
Scavenger Hunt in Spruce Street Harbor Park : We explored Spruce Street Harbor Park and got some silly pictures doing a 
scavenger hunt. 
Improv Show at ComedySportz: We laughed the night away during the ComedySportz Philadelphia Improv Show.  Todd Pontius one of our LiveUp Philly directors,  was even called on stage to guest star. Stay tuned for a full recap in coming weeks.
Lions & Tigers and Bears: We woke up early to start our morning at the Philadelphia Zoo.
Acting at Walnut Street Theater: We got the star treatment during our theater workshop with the actors of Walnut Street Theater’s production of Sister Act.   
Slip and slide: Our annual water gun fight got taken to the next level with an addition of a slip and slide. 
Danced the night away: On Sunday night we put on our best attire and whipped (and nae nae) out our best dance moves. Some of our favorite included an epic rendition of Grease’s Summer Night and a competitive round of Limbo.
#BBQSZN:  Monday before closing ceremonies our group was busy in the kitchen cooking up salads, bean dips and graham cracker pies for an awesome and delicious barbecue
A huge THANK YOU to everyone who joined us over Memorial Day. A special shout out to ou
r photographer Samantha DiBendetto for capturing so many great shots throughout the weekend.  The weekend may have gone by fast but we are extremely grateful to have so many great memories to look back on.
We can’t wait to see you in 2017!
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Countdown to LiveUp Philly 2016!

LiveUp Philly Boathouse!This post is written by Todd Pontius, director at LiveUp Philly this Memorial Day Weekend!
Salutations LiveUp Family!
Can you believe that LiveUp Season is right around the corner??  In only a few days, we’ll be reuniting with old friends, forging new relationships, and Living it Up (pun intended) in “the Birthplace of America!”  That’s right, 2016’s programs of fun, friendship, and family kick off this weekend with LiveUp Philadelphia!
As with all of the LiveUp Programs, we are incredibly excited for a weekend that perpetually reminds us of our shared abilities as individuals, the profound impact of working together as a community, and the limitless goodness of inspired hearts.  All the while, we’ll be experiencing the historic allure and modern vivacity of Philadelphia!
This year, we are switching things up and staying at the Chamounix Mansion in the heart of Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park.  In addition to being an amazing house in the middle of a beautiful urban park, we are conveniently located in the middle of the city, with the Zoo, Center City, and Old City right in our proverbial backyard!
A few things regarding what to expect from this weekend:
Fired up for fantastic friendships?  Check!
Inspired by independence?  There are great activities to promote life skills in the City of Independence!
Hoping for history?  Philly’s full of it!
Ignited by improv?  ComedySportz is going to give us an amazing show and improv acting lessons!
Wild about waterparks and wacky water battles?  (Make sure you have a bathing suit packed!)
Delighted to dance?  Nobody cuts the proverbial rug like LiveUp Programs at the dinner dances! 
Happy to help with horses?  We’re giving back to Fairmount Park and volunteering at a local stable!
Supercharged for singing?  KARAOKE.
Zipped up about zoos?  #AnimalsForDays
We are so very excited to once again have so many incredible and inspirational individuals join together as a LiveUp Family!  See you this weekend, when we show “the City of Brotherly Love” our collective love, spirit, and awesomeness!
LiveUp and LoveUp!
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LiveUp is ready for Philly! 

LiveUp Philly 2015

LiveUp Philly 2015

This post is written by Rachael Durkin, director at LiveUp Philly this Memorial Day Weekend!

The directors are wrapping up the last minute details as we approach LiveUp Philly in a few short weeks. I always know LiveUp season is upon us when I get texts from participants about the dinner dance requesting their favorite songs to be played.  Or when I get requests for addresses of other participants so they can write each other prior to the program and share their excitement. Or when I see the efforts and promotion around the annual fundraiser – this year being a beer pong tournament to raise money and awareness around LiveUp. It’s an amazing time of year. The excitement and sense of community I feel already is a strong indication of the lasting impact the program has on everyone it touches.

This year for LiveUp Philly we will be having a wonderfully wet weekend, spending Saturday morning at a waterpark and having our annual watergun fight on Sunday. There will be comedy shows, cooking classes, crazy science experiments, theater workshops, and an animal watching expedition at the Philadelphia zoo.

LiveUp reminds and teaches us the importance of friends, how to discover joy in its purest form, how to laugh our heartiest and to completely let go, how to be ourselves and even be a little silly at times (ok…a lot silly). It is also about finding the balance of maintaining this free spirit while holding onto a mature outlook, core values, pride in our independence and inclusion and support for all those around us.  It is a few days where the world is a little closer to perfection and I cannot wait for Memorial Day to arrive!

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LiveUp goes to the Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress!

LiveUp Boston directors David, Laura, and Jon in 2015

LiveUp Boston directors David, Laura, and Jon in 2015

Hey LiveUp Family! David here, a co-director for LiveUp Boston!

I hope everyone has been getting outside and enjoying this awesome, warm weather we are having! I for one love to be outside with my friends and puppy and can’t wait for summer to finally be here!

Besides being super excited for LiveUp Boston, we have been busy getting everything ready and meeting fun and inspiring new people in our area!  Back on March 19, my Co-Director Jon and I had the pleasure of attending the Massachusetts Down syndrome Congress at the DCU Center in Worcester, MA.  We had an incredible day meeting all different types of people including motivational speakers, artists, doctors, musicians, educators and friends of the Down syndrome community. Since it’s only the second year that Live Up has been in Boston, we loved the chance to meet the awesome people that make up this unique and fun community in the Boston area.
MDSC LiveUp Table
I’d like to thank the friends we made at the conference and of course our friends at the MDSC!  Laura, Jon and I are SO excited for our long weekend with everyone in Boston and I get more excited as we get closer and closer!  Be sure to stay tuned for more exciting and awesome updates about all of the plans we have for Live Up Boston July 7-10 at Boston University!

We can’t wait for July so we can spend the best weekend of the year with all of our favorite people! I hope everyone is well and I can’t wait to see everyone in Boston!


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LiveUp in the Kitchen!

Hi everyone! My name is Allie and I am one of the directors for LiveUp NYC! We all know how important it is to do our best to be healthy. I like to live a healthy lifestyle by staying active and eating nutritious wholesome meals! I find it easiest to eat healthy when I am preparing delicious healthy meals myself. Here are my three favorite nutritious and delicious recipes that are so easy anybody can make them!

cookingBaked Turkey Meatballs Recipe


  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 clove garlic, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup onion, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon pepper, or to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 400° F. Lightly grease a sheet pan with oil and set aside.
  2. In a bowl, mix all ingredients together with your hands. Roll into about 20 meatballs and place on pan.
  3. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes or until cooked through and not pink in the middle.

**Serve on top of greens (lettuce, spinach, kale) or over zoodles for an even healthier option!


Banana Oatmeal Cookies


  • 2 medium ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 cup of uncooked Old Fashioned Oats
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips (or any other sweet or savory ingredient!)
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Spray a cookie sheet with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Mix the mashed bananas and oats in a bowl. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  3. Using a spoon, scoop up the batter and place on the cookie sheet.  Bake for 12-15 minutes.

** Since these are made with bananas and oatmeal, you can even eat them for breakfast!


Cauliflower Crust Pizza


  • 1 head cauliflower, stalk removed
  • ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or tin foil.
  2. Break the cauliflower into small pieces and pulse in a food processor until it gets very fine.
  3. In a bowl, combine the cauliflower with mozzarella, parmesan, oregano, salt, garlic powder and eggs.
  4. Pour into the center of the baking sheet, spread into a circle and bake for 20 minutes.
  5. Add desired toppings (mozzarella cheese, fresh vegetables, pepperoni) and bake for 10 more minutes.

** Try my favorite combination of cooked broccoli, mushrooms and mozzarella cheese!


Do you have a favorite healthy recipe? Send it to me at! I would love to try it and maybe we can even cook it at a LiveUp weekend!




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LiveUp goes to Camp Ramapo!

Today’s post comes from Jamie, LiveUp NYC director!

Last weekend, LiveUp had the opportunity to join the JCC Manhattan Connections program on their winter reLU_330treat at Camp Ramapo in Rhinebeck, New York. Connections is a social and recreational community of individuals in their 20s with intellectual, development, and/or physical disabilities. Four participants from LiveUp joined ten participants from Connections for a weekend of fun. Read below for some highlights from the weekend!

Our weekend began with an interactive workshop with the Center for Performing Arts at Rhinebeck led by Kevin Archambult. This was a great way to break for the ice for the group. We played kickball outdoors, had thLiveUp330_be option of going on a
hike on the beautiful camp grounds, and tie-dyed shirts. We cooked a delicious, and healthy, dinner of cabbage salad, tilapia and quinoa. In true camp fashion, we had a campfire accompanied by sing-alongs on a guitar and s’mores.

We took a trip into the town of Rhinebeck and did an art project at Fiber Flame. Many of us soared high on the Ramapo ropes course and everyone was there to cheer each other on. We did yoga, fed the animals on the farm and cleaned up the camp for our give back component. We had a very special karaoke birthday party for LiveUp participant Brittany Schiavone full of sweets, singing and of course dancing.

We had such a great weekend and we are so thankful that we were welcomed into the Connections community. We look forward to continuing this partnership and working with other organizations so that we can provide more opportunities to the LiveUp community and our LiveUp family can continue to grow!

Read more about the great partners we worked with over the weekend: 

Make your own delicious cabbage salad! For the recipe, click here!

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3-2-1 it’s World Down Syndrome Day!

LUgroupshotWhat is World Down Syndrome Day?  
Down syndrome is a result of 3 copies of the 21st chromosome, so on 3-21 we celebrate World Down Syndrome Day.  There are activities that go on in the Down Syndrome community from wearing 3 pairs of socks to various social media campaigns to raise awareness.  For more information check out:

We are proud to have a staff that not only creates an incredible community during the LiveUp weekends, but all year. Over the past 21 days, we’ve been sending LoveUp to people who have inspired us them within the Down syndrome community. Check out all the #LiveUpLoveUp on our Facebook page.

And for even more #LoveUp, don’t miss this awesome LiveUp slideshow!

(Huge shoutout to Carly for putting it together!)



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LiveUp’s Got Talent – Spotlight on Daniel Chaplin

dc3Today’s post is written by Sarah Cotter, who has volunteered at LiveUp Programs in Philly and DC and can’t wait to be a director of the DC program this summer!

Participant Spotlight: Daniel Chaplin
One of my favorite things about LiveUp is getting to meet so many different people and learn about all of their special talents. LiveUp participants are singers, actors, and athletes. Did you know that we have a dancer among our LiveUp family?

This past Labor Day in DC, I had the pleasure of meeting LiveUp participant, Daniel Chaplin, who has a very special talent- Ballroom dancing. Recently, Daniel had the chance to show off his dance skills at his America’s Got Talent audition! We’re still waiting to hear back about the results, but in the meantime, I caught up with Daniel to ask about his dancing and learn more about him.

Where do you call home? I live in Birmingham, Alabama.
How many LiveUp programs have you done and in what cities? I’ve been doing LiveUp a really long time. I’ve always done DC, but this year, I get to do New York!
What is your favorite thing about LiveUp? I love everything about LiveUp. I can’t choose just one. I really liked going to the Shakespeare Theater last summer.
When did you start dancing? I started dancing two or three years ago. I go to competitions too. 
Why do you like it so much? It’s a good form of exercise and its tons of fun. 
How often do you practice dancing? I practice once per week on Tuesdays with my teacher. 
What type of dancing is your favorite and why?I like ballroom dancing the best. I like to Waltz and do the Tango!
What do you want other people to know about dancing? I dance at the National Down Syndrome Convention every year with my friend who also has Down syndrome.
Tell me about your American’s Got Talent audition! In January, I auditioned for the TV show, Americas Got Talent, in Atlanta. I ballroom danced with my partner.
When will we find out the big news? I will hear back about call backs sometime this spring. I hope that I get a callback.
Anything else you want to tell us: I think more people with Down syndrome should take up dancing. It’s really fun and good exercise.

We can’t wait to see hear about Daniel’s audition results later this year. But no matter what- LiveUp definitely thinks he’s got talent!

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