Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Thursday 13 May |
Saint of the Day: The Blessed Virgin Mary ~ Our Lady of Fatima
home iconInspiring Stories
line break icon

Mom raises over $1 million to fund education for people with Down syndrome


Denis Kuvaev | Shutterstock

Cerith Gardiner - published on 04/10/21

After 10 years, Ruby's Rainbow is helping to educate hundreds of kids with Down syndrome.

Ten years ago, Liz Plachta gave birth to a little girl with Down syndrome named Ruby. The love Plachta felt for her daughter inspired her to create a scholarship of $2,000 to help another child with Down syndrome go to college.

“I really just wanted the world to see what I saw in her, which was that she was amazing and capable,” Plachta shared with CBS News.

The initial project of sending one child to college didn’t quite go as planned. The family actually managed to raise funds for 11 kids with Down syndrome in that year. From there, Ruby’s Rainbow was born — a non-profit aimed at securing higher education for those with Down syndrome and giving them the chance not only to learn, but also to become more independent and able to contribute to society.

Ten years later and this scholarship program has snowballed into something much bigger. Through the charity, $1.2 million has been raised, allowing many people with Down syndrome to achieve their dreams of a higher education, and showing the world just how capable they are.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Ruby's Rainbow- Liz Plachta (@rubysrainbow)

However, although the scholarship program is a wonderful educational opportunity, what’s really striking is the positive message this sends to parents of children with Down syndrome, or parents expecting a child with that extra chromosome.

Plachta wants parents to feel hope. She wants parents to not be afraid of a Down syndrome diagnosis. As she shares, “[the parents] find our website, they see all of these amazing, beautiful, capable faces, and people who are out there with Down syndrome living their lives. And suddenly, they’re crying tears of joy and happiness for the future.”

This gallery of smiling achievers can be seen here.

For Ruby, at 10 years of age she has a little time before heading off to college, but she has hopes of becoming a doctor one day. And as her mom tells her “You can be anything you want to be, my love” — a message Plachta wants to spread far and wide.


There are so many inspiring stories of those with Down syndrome smashing goals, barriers, and expectations. To discover just a small number, take a look at the slideshow:

Down SyndromeInspiring stories
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Eric Clapton, Luciano Pavarotti, East London Gospel Choir
J-P Mauro
Hear Clapton and Pavarotti sing a prayer to the “Holy Mothe...
Meg Hunter-Kilmer
Saints to help if Mother’s Day is hard
Zoe Romanowsky
Moving 1-minute film about motherhood will touch your heart
I.Media for Aleteia
These 30 shrines will lead the Rosary Relay for end of the pandem...
Philip Kosloski
3 Signs of a spiritual attack on your soul
J-P Mauro
Philippines finishes construction of largest Marian statue in the...
Bret Thoman, OFS
A pilgrimage in the footsteps of St. Catherine of Siena
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.