Seattle's Child

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She pushed for an adaptive swing, and that was just the beginning | Unsung Hero

Jill Ford is a tireless advocate for families of children with special needs

Seattle’s Child is proud to partner with the state Department of Children, Youth and Families Strengthening Families Washington to honor outstanding caregivers doing important work on behalf of children.

All month long, we’ll introduce you to Unsung Heroes from around the state: biological parents, grandparents, foster and adoptive parents. Some volunteer at local schools; some have started nonprofits; some mentor others in their communities. Enjoy their stories.


Jill Ford, Arlington


I met Jill when our 9- and 10-year-old daughters became friends. Our daughters discovered one day on their bus ride home from school that each of them has a sibling with special needs. This ignited a friendship bound by the uniqueness of our families.

My job as leadership development coordinator with The Arc of Snohomish County is to identify potential leaders, provide them with mentorship, training and opportunities to get involved in their community through leadership. Without hesitation, Jill became a leader with The Arc. It started with her helping to advocate for an adaptive swing in our local community of Arlington. This swing made it possible for all kids to enjoy their local park regardless of physical ability.

Jill advocates with her legislative representatives for services that provide direct support to individuals with developmental/intellectual disabilities, so that families have the services needed to support their children living at home. Jill has a daughter, Natalie, who is 8 years old. Natalie was born with a rare neurological disorder called Pitt-Hopkins. This disorder impacts every aspect of Natalie’s life and the life of their whole family. Despite the adversity her family has faced and her working full time, Jill continues to advocate for families like hers. Encouraging and speaking to the importance of inclusive communities and equitable opportunities for all families.


Nominator: Jessie Moore



More Unsung Heroes:

Sandra Stokes is a guardian angel to new moms

Lack of sleep doesn’t stop Kate Ginn from helping kids

Amy Jensen has shown her boys what a mother can do

Through grief, Susan Barbeau has been there for her child, her community

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