Laura Partlow, currently 91 years old, was one of a dedicated group of parents in the early years of the Association, who wanted to ensure service for their handicapped children. As Past President of the Association's Board of Directors in the early 1980s, Laura played a role in providing a strong foundation that has contributed to the Association’s longevity. When asked about her contribution to the Association and the issues she dealt with as President, she downplays her involvement, referring to it all as just "so long ago."
Laura was involved in the expansion of the Association's Residential and Vocational services as well as the move to the Public School System. Like the efforts of many of her colleagues on the Association Board, Laura's work was done on volunteer basis. In her time as President, she was in charge of a fair sized budget and employed a sizable staff. The Board was six years deciding on how best to plan the dorm. Laura worked tirelessly and without pay for approximately twenty years, investing many hours behind the scenes.
Laura's daughter, Sonya Partlow, worked at the Daisyfresh Diaper Service and the New Generations used clothing store. Laura recalls having to "kick her back" to the group home many times because she was always running back home. Hazel Pollock, former Peace School of Hope teacher also recalls Sonya's "wandering ways", especially on shopping trips.
Joanne Weins was working in the 109th Ave group home when Sonya came to live there. She remembers Sonya as one of the "characters" of the residence. "Sonya had very good communication skills and wanted very much to be normal and have normal experiences. She wasn't very cautious about making friends. Sonya often threatened to fire Joanne and take her job if she didn’t like what Joanne was doing. “If you didn’t keep track of her, she’d be gone.” The group home would receive calls from the corner grocery store asking if Sonya belonged there; she would just walk into the store and start rearranging shelves etc. Joanne says Sonya was a friendly and interesting girl.
Sonya's older sister, Ruth Giles, remembers doing "patterning" exercises with Sonya to help increase her coordination. She describes her sister as friendly to the point where sometimes strangers would be taken aback because Sonya had a habit of physically touching people she met.