Page 28 - IU Southeast 2012 Spring Mag

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We are more
alike than
we are
stopped me
one bit.
Mark Hublar
In just two short years, Allies has made
a difference on campus and in the
community. But the biggest alliance it
formed is the one between its founders
and the individuals who have become
their friends.
In some ways, it’s easier to let Hublar
share the importance of Allies, only
partly because Hublar loves to talk. It’s
simple, really, he explains.
“I tell you what,” he said. “Allies means
everything in the world to people with
disabilities like Down Syndrome.”
Forming the alliance
Allies began at IU Southeast in
2010. Risse, now a junior majoring
in special education, was looking to
start a chapter of Best Buddies at IU
Southeast. She had participated in the
program in high school where she was
matched with her future best friend,
Nicole, who has Down Syndrome.
While the Best Buddies program wasn’t
a fit for campus because of initial start-
up costs, she and Evans, her high school
sweetheart, decided to begin a unique
program they called Allies.
They were already volunteering with
the young adults program at the Down
Syndrome Support Association of
Southern Indiana, which is now part of
Down Syndrome of Louisville, but they
specifically wanted something at IU
“The biggest goal is just giving
individuals who have Down Syndrome
the ability for social activity,” Risse
said. “Most of the people who come are
college age and it’s important to spend
time with peers who don’t have Down
So Risse and Evans began Allies, whose
mission is to create alliances in the
community and to increase awareness
of Down Syndrome and other
disabilities. It started with bringing
young adults with Down Syndrome to
campus for a taste of college life.
Risse and Evans have taken their
buddies to basketball games, craft
nights, movie nights, pizza parties, and
more on campus. At various times, a
group of five or six other IU Southeast
students would join in for a night, but
Risse and Evans were the constants.
They even took Hublar and five
other guys with Down Syndrome to a
wrestling event at the KFC Yum! Center
in Louisville.
In addition to the social aspect, Allies
also aims to empower the young
adults with whatever their individual
goals are. For example, they help with
resumes for those with disabilities
looking for a job.
“We want to help out in any way we
possibly can,” Evans said.
They even partnered with the Down
Syndrome Support Association
of Southern Indiana for the 2011
“Celebrate Our Capabilities Talent
Show and Walk” to promote Down
Syndrome awareness. The event, held
in September 2011 at IU Southeast,
brought dozens of families and guests
to campus.
But for Risse and Evans, being involved
at school was only a small part of their
service. As special education majors,
both felt it was important to gain
understanding of day-to-day life for
people with special needs. Risse had
some experience as she lived part-time
with her buddy Nicole in high school.
Evans gained his experience with
Hublar. The pair, who had become fast
friends, were also roommates.
The odd couple
Hublar is very independent for
someone with Down Syndrome. He
lives in his own house with his dog,
Princess, and he can drive his moped
most everywhere he needs to go. He
doesn’t need a caretaker; in fact, Hublar
is more likely to be found playing that
role himself. He helped care for his
late grandfather, accompanying him to
medical appointments and making him
But he didn’t mind having a roommate.
So Evans moved in with Hublar in 2011.
It was a great partnership. Evans got a
job at Wal-Mart, where Hublar already
worked, so they could carpool. They
both had their chores, and they both
liked the same entertainment.
“When he was my roommate, we’d
watch wrestling together,” Hublar said.
“We had some fun.”
But Evans learned quickly that Hublar,
like many individuals with Down
Syndrome, had a specific agenda in
“We want to
help out in
any way we
possibly can.
Kevin Evans