Some kids will come up with any excuse to avoid class, but for one little girl, starting school was particularly special.
Lily, a 2-year-old diagnosed with Down syndrome, and her family have documented their journey over the past few years as she started school at The Little Light House, a Christian nonprofit that works towards enhancing the quality of life for Lily and 63 other children with special needs. According to their website, the school -- which has estimated costs of up to 28,000 dollars per child -- is tuition free for Lily and all the other students. Each students receives a dedicated team, including a certified special education teacher, occupational and physical therapists and more with the goal of entering mainstream education.
The generosity and donations of strangers who contribute money to keep the school running have allowed Lily and others to attend this remarkable program. On a waiting list since birth, Lily was able to participate in a transitioning program until she was admitted at the age of two. According to her parents, "she has doubled her vocabulary both in words and signs, has begun walking independently more and more, can count to THREE, and so many other beautiful new skills."
Lily's parents, Kalyn and James McKenzie, wrote this note to accompany the video above on You Tube:
We have seen people change Lily's world for the better, we have seen them give her a real chance in the real world.
The Little Light House has made incredible strides, but there's still a ways to go. Despite a 2011 report that 1 in every 691 babies are born with Down syndrome, it's still the least funded major genetic condition by The National Institutes of Health.