In 2021, LKNConnect will feature outstanding non-profits and service organizations in the Lake Norman community. Margi Kyle, Director of Non-Profits at LKNConnect and Founder of Little Smiles NC, will be sharing these great organizations with you. — EH Stafford, Managing Editor


“Zach has taught us to see the glass as always full. Being his parents have made us better people.” – Lisa Cooper


Zach and Lisa Cooper


Loved and wanted

Lisa and David Cooper, owners of the Mooresville doughnut shop, Down for Doughnuts, know

more than a little about life’s journey with a special needs child. The Coopers were in their early

twenties when son Zach was born with Down syndrome. At that time, extensive support services

were not as readily available as today. They experienced some harsh treatment from health

professionals and others who simply did not know how to respond. What they did know was

that  Zach was loved and wanted. “We continue to face challenges, but we have chosen to find

the good in each of them. Trust me, at times that has been difficult to do, but we will not be

defeated. Being Zach’s parents have given us a different lens to see situations through.”


Everyone can be employed

Advocating for those with physical and intellectual disabilities, the Coopers opened Down for

Doughnuts last year. The couple had dreamed for well over 15 years of owning a business where

their son, now 31, could work alongside his dad. Lisa, an Exceptional Children’s teacher in the

Mooresville Graded School District, works with students with disabilities in grades K-6. and

believes everyone can be employed. “The jobs may look different or need to be modified, but

that’s ok.”


Individuals with disabilities are individuals first

The Coopers currently employ 12 employees. Only three, including David, do not have

disabilities. They believe individuals with disabilities are individuals first. They have the

same wants and desires that we all do. They want to be included and treated equally. The

Coopers like to tell people who are having a bad day: Come to Down for Doughnuts because

the shop is filled with joy emanating from their employees.



Love and support from the community

Citizens of Mooresville have embraced the little doughnut shop, as evidenced by the steady

stream of customers. The love from the community has surprised and humbled the Coopers.

David says that special moments happen every day, especially when families with a member

with Down syndrome ask to speak to the owners. Parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, and

grandparents want to thank them for what they’re doing.


Happy anniversary to Down for Doughnuts

It’s the one-year anniversary for Down for Doughnuts. The Coopers are grateful for

their support system. They are inspired by their employees. They are concerned that COVID may

still impact them negatively. And they are exhausted; making doughnuts is hard work!  Lisa and

David, however, have great plans for the future. “We do hope to expand at our current location

and offer franchise opportunities to share our dream with others. I would love to see Down for

Doughnuts across the country,” Lisa said. That’s a dream we can all get behind.


Come celebrate with us

Come help the Coopers celebrate World Down Syndrome Day and the first anniversary for

Down for Doughnuts on Saturday, March 20. Haerfest Coffee and David’s Hot

Dogs, both owned by families with children who have Down syndrome, and the Down

Syndrome Association of Greater Charlotte will join the celebration. Down for Doughnuts,

Located at 880 East Iredell Ave., Mooresville, NC, will donate 15% of their sales to the



Note:  March 21 is World Down Syndrome Day. The date of March 21 is significant. March represents the third month (3) and the 21st represents the 21st chromosome. Down syndrome results when there are three 21st chromosomes instead of two. For details of the events of this special day, go to The Down Syndrome Association of Greater Charlotte.





Janice Luckey lives in the Lake Norman area, where she loves to write while watching the birds, hawks, and deer outside her windows. She is an avid reader, a southern cook, an armchair-traveler, and doting grandmother to four granddaughters. Listen to her latest essay, Rowena, at








If you know of a non-profit organization that you would like featured …

Contact Margi Kyle, at








The views, thoughts and opinions expressed by our writers belong solely to them
and do not represent, its publisher or its staff.