"Nothing worth having was ever achieved without effort."

Theodore Roosevelt



Rebecca Christiansen is the founder of Celebrate Differences. She is a graduate of Elmhurst College with a Bachelor's of science in nursing and business administration. She is currently employed full time as a registered nurse.

After the birth of her fourth child Ryan, who has Down syndrome, she got the idea to start Celebrate Differences in hopes of showing the world that individuals with disabilities are more the same than different than others.


Jeff Christiansen, one of the original founders of Celebrate Differences, is a graduate of Lewis University with master degree in criminal/social justice. He is currently employed as a part of the command staff at a local Sheriffs Office.

Along with being the father of Ryan, he has developed programs and training to assist fellow law enforcement officers with their response to persons with special needs. The Illinois Attorney Generals Office has had him present his training at their Elderly Service Officer 40 hour certification class. He has also completed SAR (Search and Rescue) training to become a trained search manager in the event someone with special needs becomes lost/missing.

Olivia Sprecher

Olivia has both a Master of Science degree in Accounting from the University of Illinois - Chicago as well as a Bachelor's. She is currently employed in the public accounting industry and is working on becoming a licensed CPA in the state of Illinois. Olivia has been with Celebrate Differences since 2011, but has been a longtime advocate for the special needs community when her brother, Ryan, was born with Down syndrome in 2004. With the support and love Celebrate Differences has to offer through the focused efforts of many, Olivia strives to make the world a better place for special needs individuals and their families.


Terry is the father of four, one of which has Prader-Willi Syndrome. His daughter's syndrome has led to his focus on a better understanding of the environmental issues affecting all of us. Understanding those issues and problems that our children face is just part of the journey, getting involved to assist and promote an improved quality of life is also very important. Terry is not only an involved member of the Celebrate Differences organization, but he is also an active board member of the Prader-Willi Syndrome - Illinois chapter.


Kim has lived in Aurora for the past 15 years with her husband and two children. Kim has a Bachelor's degree from Marquette University and a Masters in Health Administration from St. Louis University. She has spent the past 11 years at Ernst & Young where she is currently an Executive Recruiter focused on bringing Partner talent into their Advisory consulting practice. She has over 20 years of HR and recruiting experience in both public and private companies. Kim's daughter was born a congenital amputee and is missing a hand, some fingers and all of her toes. Because of her daughter's disabilities and her initial curiosity on how corporate America receives individuals with disabilities into the working world, she has had a strong focus on hiring individuals with disabilities at Ernst & Young. She was a founding member of AccessAbilities, which is an EY network focused on helping people of all abilities and disabilities to do their best work so that the firm can develop the highest performing teams. She has also been a firm representative at the Career Opportunities for Students with Disabilities (COSD) annual conferences, where she helps students with resume writing and interviewing skills to help them be successful in the job market. Kim is excited to share her knowledge of HR and recruiting with the Celebrate Differences organization as they continue to grow and provide additional outreach to the community.



A not-for-profit organization, Celebrate Differences is incorporated in the State of Illinois and files as a qualified 501(c)(3) organization with the Internal Revenue Service, Id 20-5007373. 

14 Stonehill Rd, Unit E - Oswego, IL 60543 | 630.885.3006