This week, the Today Show‘s Al Roker sat down with Liz Plachta and her daughter Ruby, who has Down syndrome, to learn how their non-profit organization is changing the lives of individuals with Down syndrome.
After Ruby was born, Liz set out to learn as much as possible about Down syndrome so she could help her daughter thrive. As Ruby grew, Liz began thinking about her future plans, and when Ruby was about six months old, Liz decided she wanted to do something to help others with Down syndrome – by paving the way for them to go to college.
Fast-forward to 2011 – and Ruby’s Rainbow was born.
Ruby’s Rainbow is a nonprofit organization that raises funds for partial scholarships for young adults with Down syndrome as they pursue higher education. Since its founding, the organization has given away over $2 million in scholarships to nearly 600 recipients, with 119 awarded in 2022 alone! The lucky students go on to complete a variety of college programs, from associate’s to master’s degrees.
Through their work, Liz and Ruby have already witnessed firsthand how a college education can help improve the lives of individuals with Down syndrome. Liz shared:
“[It’s inspiring to see] the confidence and the life skills that they’re gaining, just by being allowed to go out into the world to make mistakes and learn from them – like everybody.”
With the support of her mom, in a few years Ruby will be joining their ranks to study medicine.
Check out the full video interview below to see some of the lucky applicants’ reactions as they find out they have been awarded Ruby’s Rainbow scholarships.