About Us

our mission

21_Connect is a not-for-profit advocacy group focused on educating the community about individuals with Down syndrome. Based in Buffalo, NY, we’re all about connecting people and sharing stories. Therapists, educators, agencies, medical professionals, parents, families, friends, and individuals with Down syndrome are all encouraged to join us on our quest to spread a little love, one connection at a time.

Advocate. Educate. Support. Love. #downsyndrome

About us

21_Connect was founded in 2017 by three couples; all parents of children with Down syndrome.  After each of us were underwhelmed by the actions of the medical community during our time of need and by the lack of relevant, up-to-date information available for us to learn from, we took matters into our own hands.  Today we focus on connecting people, sharing stories and information, and providing a positive outlook to new parents.


Matt Lasher, Co-President, matthew.lasher@21connect.org

Erin Sobkowski, Co-President, erin.sobkowski@21connect.org

Michelle Trenchard, Vice President, michelle.trenchard@21connect.org

Kathy Lasher, Treasurer, kathy.lasher@21connect.org

Tiffany Lasher, tiffany.lasher@21connect.org

Matt Mancuso, matt.mancuso@21connect.org

Aliya Crewson – Speech Therapist, aliya.crewson@21connect.org

Ellen Shanahan Becker, ellen.becker@21connect.org


Matt is the Director of Marketing for West Herr Automotive Group.  He has 14 years automotive sales and marketing experience.

Tiffany has 7 years of experience in investment managing including FINRA series 3,6, 7 and 63 licenses. She also has additional experience in operations, editorial, and event planning with a Masters in Childhood Education. Tiffany is currently a fair-trade ambassador for Noonday products.


Erin is an attorney with 12 years’ experience advocating for labor, employment, and civil rights.

Matt is an architect and project manager with 17+ years experience for a diverse client base consisting of Health Care, Universities and Arts Organizations.


Emily is an educator and has spent most of her 10 years teaching students in inclusive classrooms. She is currently obtaining her certification in special education and is working to reshape inclusive education across the United States.

Will is the Director of FiveOut, a digital design agency. He has worked for 20 years providing strategic consulting, digital design, and thought leadership to the world’s largest brands.