Open Arms Play Groups (birth - 5)

Open Arms Play Group (birth to 5 years old)

Founded in 2004 by Sydney Shook and Jamie Burch with a mini-grant from the NWDSA, Open Arms is a parent-driven playgroup for children age birth through five with disabilities, and their families. The playgroups give parents the opportunity to connect and learn from each other on a personal level by asking questions, sharing ideas, and learning from others’ experiences. Open Arms is a fun place where children can play, snack, learn and grow together. Open Arms’ organizing principle is that parents are the experts on and number one advocates for their children. There is no charge, and we welcome all families with kiddos with disabilities and Down syndrome, age 0 to 5. Siblings are welcome.

Contact Info:

Jenna Dillon · 503-238-0522 ·

Para comunicarse en español:

Maria Rangel · (503) 238-0522
Sheyla Hirshon · (971) 227-4928 ·
Maria O’Harra · (971) 570-0942 ·


Portland Open Arms Play Group

Second Monday of each month · 10:30 AM - 12:30 PM
Earl Boyles Elementary School · 10822 SE Bush St, Portland, OR
[map/driving directions]

Vancouver Open Arms Play Group

First Saturday of each month · 2:30 - 4:30 PM
Unitarian Universalist Church of Vancouver · 4505 E 18th St, Vancouver, WA
[map/driving directions]

News & Articles

Article: Open Arms on Both Sides of the River

The Parents Behind Open Arms

Mayra and Luis live in Vancouver Washington with their daughter Lizette. They have been attending Open Arms since Lizette was an infant. Mayra stepped up to co-lead the Vancouver group in January 2017 along with Kirstin.

Molly and Chris Hulett live with their two children, Lilly and Parker, in Oregon City. They started coming to Open Arms when Parker was a baby, and have been co-leading the Portland group since September of 2012.

Anna and Paul Herbig live in Vancouver, WA with their daughter Hattie. They have been coming to Open Arms since Hattie was a few months old, and stepped up to help run the Vancouver group in January of 2013.

Leah Thompson and Nick Vincent-Maloney live with their daughter Cora in Southeast Portland and have been coming to Open Arms since Cora was an infant. Leah stepped up to co-lead the Portland group in September of 2012.

Rosa Flores and her husband Pablo López live in Vancouver, WA with their three children, André, Paola and Christian. They have been coming to Open Arms since Christian was a baby, and stepped up to co-lead the Vancouver group in the fall of 2012. Rosa also works on the NWDSA’s Hispanic Outreach Committee and speaks Spanish and English. Pablo has love for kids, he has been a Teacher and Teacher Coordinator for Head Start for over 10 years. Rosa is passionate about advocating for the unserved Hispanic families who don’t know how to access available resources for their children with special needs.