A new year brought a change in leadership for New Directions. Barrett Kaufman served as the organization’s Board President in 2023. He recently handed the reins over to Laura Hanson.

A word from former president Barrett.

What a year 2023 was! As I look back at the year that was, I am incredibly grateful for the dedicated team at New Directions and all of those in our community that have shown up, donated, volunteered, and been involved. We are so humble to serve all of you, but we could not accomplish anything without your support either!

We had our daughter Georgette (prenatal diagnosis) in the fall of 2021. Shortly after, I joined the New Directions board. As my time on the board comes to a close, there are so many highlights; personally, perhaps the best for me has been becoming immersed in this strong community and the great people that make it that way. As great as 2023 was, I am greatly looking forward to all the great things in store for 2024 and beyond.

2023 Highlights:

  • 53 Buddy Walk Teams and 1,000+ participants. With your gracious support, we were able to far exceed our goal of $25,000!
  • Sponsored several community or outreach events:
    • Fourth of July picnic and Sioux Falls Canaries baseball game
    • Halloween Party
    • Christmas Party
    • Sponsored attendance to see Chris Nikic speak in Sioux Falls
    • Meals for families with extended NICU/hospital stays


Barrett Kaufman

Board President 2023

And here’s a note from our new president Laura!

Family and Friends of New Directions,

I joined the New Directions board in early 2021, shortly after my daughter, Mara, was born with Down syndrome. Along with the rest of the world, our organization was picking up the pieces that were left after the pandemic and planning the first Buddy Walk since 2018. Under the leadership of former board presidents Brandon Tilus and Barrett Kaufman, I feel as though we found ourselves at the beginning of a rebuilding phase. New Directions saw a ton of growth in 2023, and we will continue that trend in 2024!

The current board has added new members, recently reorganized, and is looking forward to meeting several goals this year. They include:

Expand event and outreach offerings
Bring back the Regional Conference this fall
Form stronger connections with people of other abilities in our community and the non-profits that serve them
Improve member relations by adding a Member Support Director position to the board and providing more consistent communication to the community

Our team is highly motivated, but we can only accomplish so much with the members we currently have. We continue to have vacancies on the board and would love to fill them! Please consider reaching out to visit with one of us about the commitment and potentially applying. With your continued support, New Directions can do so much more!

Happy New Year!

Laura Hanson

Board President