The National Advocate for People with Down Syndrome Since 1979

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Frank Scarfone
Frank Scarfone

My son, Frank Louis Scarfone, Jr., was recently inducted into the Martial Arts Hall of Fame at a black tie affair at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Frank is the only known martial artist with Down syndrome in the country who has attained the level of Forth Degree Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do. Frank started Tae Kwon Do with the South East Consortium for Special Services. Ron Belmont was the instructor. When it was evident to Ron that Frank could move on, Ron suggested that Frank join Rico dos Anjos "normal" class. The rest is history. Frank is now a fourth degree black belt. He has participated in many karate tournaments. Frank has traveled to many places with us. He has been to Italy, Alaska, California, the Rocky Mountains, Grand Canyon - just to name a few. Frank has also been on trips with the South East Consortium to Washington D.C., Vermont, Boston, Walt Disney World and numerous other places. Frank has been a member of a bell choir and a choral group - also associated with the South East Consortium. Frank is a 43-year-old with Down syndrome. Frank's numerous accomplishments are a source of pride for our family. Frank's roles in the family as son, brother, and uncle have been very welcomed. He has an older sister, a younger brother, three nieces and one nephew. At times when growing up, his brother and sister were often torn between love and empathy for Frank, who candidly could be quite vexing at times; but Frank's charm always won them over. His brother and sister vacillated between being his best friend and being embarrassed about having an unusual brother. Fortunately, love always won. Frank has always been very outgoing, loveable and personable - not in-your-face loveable; but loveable nonetheless. Frank is a celebration of the human spirit with an inner strength that we should all imitate. Frank is an altar server at our church and volunteers at our church's summer camp for needy children. He has also volunteered his services at some of the activities of the White Plains Recreation Department. Frank worked as a teacher's aide in a school for special children. He had been working at this job for twenty-one years receiving a paycheck commensurate with his work, life insurance and health benefits. However, due to the economic crisis our country has been experiencing, Frank lost his job and is now doing volunteer work at the food pantry of our church. Since his father passed away, Frank has indeed been a pillar of strength for me. He lives at home and is a great help around the house.




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Cody Hand, United States, NV
10/10/2011 2:13:57 PM
Hi Frank, My name is Cody and I am doing a report on people with a disability and how they live with it. I also have downs like you and I have a first degree black belt in martial arts. Can you send me any info on you?

emma Rooney, United States, NY
9/6/2011 9:22:51 PM
Great story! I have have a soon to be 4 year old with down syndrome and have been looking into tae kwon do classes for him. Frank is an inspiration! He seems to have a very fulfilling life, I hope for the same for my son. Thank you.

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