Often times, when a child is born with Down syndrome, doctors accompany the news with an “I’m sorry.” They may throw out a bunch of facts, figures and medical jargon, creating one, big overwhelming experience for a new parent. It’s certainly not the way to welcome a new life into the world.
So what’s the right thing to tell a new parent of a child with Down syndrome? How about “Congratulations”?
At Camp PALS, a camp for young adults with Down syndrome, campers are participating “The Congratulations Project,” an initiative where people with Down syndrome and their loved ones write letters to new members of the Down syndrome community.
In these letters, campers offer encouragement, inspiration and congratulations to new parents and siblings.
Here are just a few of the wonderful letters:
Justin’s letter reads:
Congratulations on your new baby! My name is Justin G. and I am a camper at Camp PALS. In the future, I want to become a scientist. I love my life because I get to hang out with my best friend Sean!
P.S. This baby is going to be the best thing that ever happens to you.
Taylor’s letter reads:
Congratulations on your new baby. My name is Taylor G., and I am a camper at Camp PALS Dallas. I am proud of my good grades and being a good aunt. I like to hang out with my boyfriend and friends. 1) I am good at dancing and singing. 2) In the future I would like to get married and have one child. I also would like to become a teacher. 3) Good luck with your baby. Don’t be scared. Be happy because they are going to be great and successful.
You I love,
Megan’s letter reads:
Congratulations on your new baby. My name is Megan W. I am 21 years old. I am a camper at Camp PALS. Your new baby will be beautiful. The new baby will love you because I love my parents. I have Down syndrome. I have a great life. Some things I enjoy are music and ice skating. I graduated high school and now I have a job. I work at the Broadway Center and make money. When your baby is older they should go to Camp PALS. Your baby will have a wonderful life like mine. Please don’t be scared. Down syndrome is amazing.
Blake’s letter reads:
Congratulations on your new baby. My name is Blake, and I am a camper at Camp PALS. I like to watch and play sports like basketball, football, and hockey. In the future I want to help others and start my own business. I love my life because I have a great loving family and I love my sister in law. I wish you luck on your new baby. YOu are all going to have a greta life together.
Jocelyn’s letter reads:
Congratulations. My name is Jocelyn. I am happy you are having a baby like me. I want to be a doctor. I have Down syndrome. I am Spanish. I like to play games and sing. Love camp. I dance a lot.
PALS hopes to keep expanding until one day this message reaches every new parent of a child with Down syndrome.
Check out more on The Congratulations Project in the video above:
Have you seen the first film with a national release to star a person with Down syndrome? Check out the film “Where Hope Grows” today!