Down Syndrome Awareness Month

KaylenJean Boutique Dolls with Down Syndrome

September 24th, 2017

Ok, I’m going to confess something here…this shoot made me nervous. The closer it got to the date of the shoot, the more my internal anxiety ramped up. Mindy from KaylenJean Boutique came up with the idea for Dolls With Down Syndrome, because October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month.  The shoot itself was relatively simple, a look-book fashion shoot.  All we needed a venue and hair and makeup, and I knew just the people to ask, so this should be a simple photoshoot. Our models were exceptional young ladies with Down Syndrome. The last thing I wanted to do was miss the mark or mess something up. At first i wasn’t worried but as the day got closer, I became more nervous because I had never worked with special needs or Down Syndrome models.  This was new and scary to me, and my lack of exposure and experience was creating a wholly unnecessary worry.

If you have heard someone recount a story of their experience volunteering or working with Down Syndrome kids, and how it elevated them, filled them with joy, or surpassed their expectations. I can assure you hearing their story is nothing like experiencing it for yourself.  The worry I mentioned before was melted away as soon as the girls arrived and as it turns out, it was me who was treated to one of the most special and amazing experiences of my life.  There really is nothing quite like sharing in the joy and happiness of these young ladies.  Seeing them light up with the hair and makeup, dance with the music, and pose with each flash of the strobe. I always take a selfie with my models when we wrap up a shoot – and you know who had the biggest smile in those selfies….I did. My face hurt from smiling so much that day.  Their hugs and thanks and excitement filled me up – and I thought I was supposed to be there to offer something to them, I was happily mistaken!

Its funny how it works out.  I made all these plans to try and make a special day for four amazing young ladies, and all along God had a special day planned for all of us.  Diane & Hannah at The Red Bird Salon did such an amazing job with the girls.  Mindy and Isabellafrom KaylanJean Boutique got the looks perfect for each personality.  I know the girls and their parents had a great time too, you can see it in their eyes and their smiles.  I just pray that I provided them at least 10% of the joy that they gave me!  My heart was and is still full from that day, and I cant wait to work with these young ladies again!  The KaylenJean Dolls with Down Syndrome was absolutely one of the most amazing experiences of my life.



Bethany goes to Ravenwood High School, plays basketball, and runs track, and loves football, especially Ohio State and the Titans. She won a gold medal at the Special Olympics and was voted to the 2017 Homecoming Court! She wants to work in a doctors office after graduation and will one day visit all 50 states.

You can win her over with Sherbert Ice Cream, Chocolate Chip Cookies and the music from Frozen. She loves casual and sports attire and would wear her favorite Ohio State Jersey and Jeans every day if mom would let her.

Bethany was such a joy to work with!  Once we started she was all smiles from the hair and makeup through the photoshoot.  We occasionally had to give her Titan’s updates because this girl loves football! She even knows the names of all the starting QB’s in the NFL!


Sophia is sassy and a bit silly.  She attends Wilson Central High School and is a varsity cheerleader for the Wildcats.  She love Harry Styles, One Direction, and Phantom of the Opera, but probably not as much as she loves Elsa from Frozen! She volunteers at a veterinarian’s office and takes care of the puppies and kittens and wants to work their full time.  

Her favorite dessert is ice cream and she loves a Smores Frappe. She likes to dress up but prefers to dress down with her favorite Pred’s jersey an comfy jeans. This past summer she won a Gold Medal at the Jr. Taekwando Olympics in Detroit!

Sophia is such a sweet girl, I had a wonderful time working with her and getting to know her. My favorite photo of the day isn’t in here, because I keep it on my phone, he smile and hug when we took a selfie at the end of the shoot was a highlight for me, and makes me smile every time I think of it.


Working with Tianna was so much fun, she is very quiet and reserved…until the music turned on and the camera came out!  This girl can dance! Her smile and energy was contagious and made the whole day a joy.


If anyone was ever born to perform I think its Rachel! Her personality just lit up the room when she walked into the salon. Then when she started trying on the clothes she had all the personality and attitude to go with it.  It was such a joy and privilege to photograph her and see her be so happy and full of life in front of the camera. Hollywood better watch out!

[ngg_images source=”galleries” container_ids=”71″ exclusions=”2401,2402,2405,2406,2408,2409,2410,2414,2415,2416,2417,2419,2420,2422,2424,2426,2427,2429,2430,2432,2433,2435,2436,2438,2439,2440,2441,2443,2444,2446,2447″ sortorder=”2401,2402,2405,2406,2408,2409,2410,2414,2415,2416,2417,2419,2420,2422,2424,2426,2427,2429,2430,2432,2433,2435,2436,2438,2439,2440,2441,2443,2444,2446,2447,2412,2403,2407,2404,2411,2413,2421,2418,2423,2425,2431,2428,2434,2437,2445,2442,2448″ display_type=”photocrati-nextgen_pro_horizontal_filmstrip” image_crop=”0″ image_pan=”1″ show_playback_controls=”1″ show_captions=”0″ caption_class=”caption_overlay_bottom” caption_height=”70″ aspect_ratio=”1.5″ width=”100″ width_unit=”%” transition=”fade” transition_speed=”1″ slideshow_speed=”4″ border_size=”0″ border_color=”#ffffff” override_thumbnail_settings=”0″ thumbnail_width=”250″ thumbnail_height=”250″ thumbnail_crop=”1″ ngg_triggers_display=”exclude_mobile” is_ecommerce_enabled=”0″ order_by=”sortorder” order_direction=”ASC” returns=”included” maximum_entity_count=”10000″]


If you have every thought about volunteering, do it today! There is something immeasurable how this experience will change you. I know God put each of us here for a reason, and these exceptional young people have a special purpose. Its not something I can explain or write, it is something you have to experience for yourself.  Here are a couple links for more information:





We would love to hear from you!