Nathan Willoughby, 12 (left), and Jon Lambert, 9, look at their pictures in calendars put together by Up Side of Downs Inc., a group that helps families in the Augusta area deal with Down Syndrome. The calendars show children with the disability enjoying regular activities.
Photo by Quandra Collins
When 9-year-old Jon Lambert looks at a 2003 calendar for the organization Up Side of Downs Inc., his face lights up with a smile.
"This is me swimming," the enthusiastic Greenbrier Elementary School fourth-grader says as he points to his picture.
"I'm swimming because I got a new bathing suit. (The water) was cold!"
Twelve-year-old Nathan Willoughby had the same reaction when he looked at his athletic pictures.
"I like to play soccer," said the North Augusta resident. "I like volleyball. I like all (sports)."
Up Side of Downs Inc. is a nonprofit organization that offers support to Augusta-area families who are affected by Down Syndrome.
President Wanda Miller said the calendar, an annual project that features children in different settings, is based on a theme.
"Last year's theme was 'Celebrating Life Together,'" she said.
"We put kids in settings where they were playing with other kids. We tried to depict them in action shots. We're just trying to show our kids are just like other kids."
Calendar editor Diana Lambert agreed.
"Our group is trying to get community awareness (out)," said the Martinez mother. "The (children) enjoy the pictures. They're proud. It gives them self-esteem.''
The 2005 calendar uses the theme "We All Have Dreams" and features children dressed up in different professions, such as a doctor, actor and safety engineer, Lambert said.
"Maybe they can't be a doctor, but maybe they can work as an orderly,'' she said. "There's a lot of things they can do.''
Unlike in the past, Lambert said, this year's calendar will place a Bible verse below each child's picture.
The calendar, which costs $10, is scheduled to be available at the end of October. Miller said the proceeds go toward Down Syndrome cassettes, videos and events.
To get more information on the organization or to buy a calendar, visit www.upsideofdowns.net.
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