Children with Down syndrome thrive in F.R.I.E.N.D.S program

At an indoor playground in Tampa called K Peas Place, kids have fun, play, and participate in musical activities.

It's the perfect meeting place for a program designed to inspire families raising kids with Down syndrome. It's called F.R.I.EN.D.S. 

The organization's president, Ann Foyt says the organization is designed for parents and their children to meet to have fun while learning. They also make connections and discuss their families' challenges and achievements.

K Peas Place owner Karen Gliddon says, "It's interactive. We're using all parts of development, whether it's cognitive, fine motor, physical, language development. It encompasses the entire child."

Renee Hurst said the music class helps her 19-month-old daughter, Kalea communicate and socialize with kids her age.

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It's also helping children improve their motor skills.

"Grabbing sticks and tapping them. Then there's bubbles, pinching the bubbles," Hurst said. 

Through F.R.I.E.N.D.S., families learn to lean on each other. 

"We support parents. We show them things aren't as bad as they've been told, that there is hope that their child can grow up to be a healthy adult, hold a job, get married," said Foyt.

"It's more than just singing songs because it's about building a community and having fun through the use of music," said Gliddon.

For more information about F.R.I.E.N.D.S., visit

For more information about K Peas Place, visit