SEATTLE -- It's nice to feel like you're a part of something. That can sometimes be hard for children with Down Syndrome.
Eric Matthes is a thriving young professional. He loves life and loves his job. As he walks down the hall he ducks into the kitchen at The ARC, an organization that advocates for children with disabilities to be a part of the community. "This is where I normally have lunch and grab my water and I get fired up!"
Things haven't always been so good. As a child, he says sometimes life was tough. "Each day I'd come home I would say to my mom kids tell me I'm retarded and I would say I'm not that." With tears in his eyes he finished his thought, "I still remember that."
Those experiences ended up fueling Eric's passion. He works with children with disabilities. "I think it's good to not single people out but include everyone." He wants to help kids become a part of their surroundings, to be included with the all the other kids. That's why when Eric saw a Nordstrom ad featuring a six-year-old boy with Down Syndrome, he couldn't help but smile. "Seeing something like that makes me happier to have a disability."
Nordstrom employees are smiling too. Their young catalog model has become a source of inspiration. Tara Darrow with Nordstrom says, "It's all about inclusion, really representing customers that come into our stores."
Eric calls the little boy proof. "Believing is such a wonderful thing." Proof that sometimes, a challenge presents a chance to shine.
For more information on The ARC, visit www.arcofkingcounty.org.