“My Dreams Have Come True”

“Mom, my dreams have all come true.” IMG_6719
This is the statement my daughter Katlyn made after being a model for Arc’s Value Village Halloween Boo-tique (featured on Channel 12 and City Pages).  I still get emotional when I think about it, because I never thought I would hear those words from her.  When Katlyn was born twenty-one years ago with Down syndrome, there was uncertainty, now it has been replaced with hope for the future.  “I am an author, a model, an actor, and I have been on TV.” She thought for a moment, “what should I do now?” she asked. “Well honey you get to make new dreams,” I said wiping the tears from my eyes.

Katlyn has led an amazing life, and it just keeps getting better.  In addition to being a model for Arc’s Value Village she was crowned 2016 Miss Amazing Queen in the Jr. Miss Division and had the opportunity to compete at the national level in Chicago.  Minnesota Miss Amazing provides opportunities for girls and women with disabilities to build confidence and self-esteem in a supportive environment.  Katlyn has truly enjoyed her time as the reigning Miss Amazing Queen.

In 2015 Katlyn and I co-authored a book called Katlyn Conquers the World, which she followed up in 2016 with her own children’s book titled I am Princess Katlyn.  Most recently we put together a compilation of stories for our book called The Many Faces of Down Syndrome, Stories of Inspiration, Hope, and 20161107_143401 (3)LaughterBook Link.  Katlyn authored her own story in the book, which she talks about who her favorite people are in the whole world, Melissa McCarthy and Kate McKinnon made the list.  Also she would eat chicken everyday if she could.

As part of the Bloomington Public Schools Transition program BTC, Katlyn worked at Arc’s Value Village at the Bloomington location and was a valuable part of their team. In addition to modeling for Arc for the Boo-tique, Katlyn also modeled for back to school digital ads.  Arc created a video of Katlyn which was viewed over 5000 times.  Katlyn would run into my office daily to see how many people saw her smiling face.  She was also the featured model for the Merry Thrift-mas ads on social media and will be modeling in Arc’s upcoming  World Down Syndrome Awareness Day Style Show on March 25th.

Katlyn will be graduating this June from Bloomington Transition Center and will be a member of the drama troupe at the Interact Center for Visual and Performing Arts. Interact gives artists with disabilities opportunities for a career in a creative field of their choice. Katlyn keeps coming up with new dreams to achieve which is the great thing about her dreams, there is never a shortage.

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Ann Aubitz is a Guest Blogger and friend of The Arc Greater Twin Cities.

Photos by Amy Zellmer and Molly King

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