Clarissa is a confident 8th grader who enjoys school and hanging out with her typical peers. Her passions include swimming, gymnastics, working out, reading, shopping, and modeling. Her two older brothers adore her, and her love for them knows no bounds. Clarissa is also a proud ambassador for the Global Down Syndrome Foundation. This year, she joined typical developing peers and swam in local swim meets and competed ferociously.
Raquel Caramello is 17 and is a CEO, philanthropist, motivational speaker, and model. At 12 she was courageous through 2.5 years of chemotherapy. When her hair was falling out, she created a movement to stamp out bullying and help others see the beauty in each of us. She then started her own business, Raquel Beautiful, that sells handmade and custom designed jewelry with her handwritten inspirational message. She was a Distinguished Finalist in Prudential’s Spirit of the Community Awards and received a commendation from President Joe Biden for her voluntarism. Raquel wants you to believe in yourself and know that with hard work and dedication, you can do anything!
Ty is 14 years old and lives in Valley Cottage, New York. He is a witty, fun-loving boy. He constantly makes everyone around him laugh. Ty loves to act, dance and listen to rock ‘n’ roll and dance music. Some of his favorite bands and singers are ACDC, The Who, Journey, and many more. His current favorite songs are “A Sky Full of Stars” by Coldplay and “Jump” by Van Halen. For the past several years, Ty has been training karate and jiu-jitsu regularly. Going to movies and watching TV shows are also his favorite things to do.
Archie was born in Bulgaria and was adopted by his family when he was 7 years old. He is now 17 years old and enjoys swimming, dancing, singing, and modeling. In fact, his modeling career launched when he hit the runway at GLOBAL’s Be Beautiful Be Yourself Fashion Show in 2019. He rocked the runaway with his sister, Sevy, and family friend, model, and actress, Amanda Booth. Most recently, he was featured as a model in Gap’s Nxt Gen Campaign. Archie is a fierce self-advocate and loves talking to everyone he meets about his extra chromosome and how awesome it makes him.
Sevy was born in Sofia, Bulgaria and spent the first 12 years of her life in institutions. Her early childhood was hard and filled trauma. But in 2016, her forever family brought her home to Houston, Texas. As the oldest, but the newest to the family, she loves her younger siblings. She enjoys swimming, dancing, and painting! Although Sevy is non-verbal, she has found self-expression and passion in art, and her fanbase expands across the world and her artwork is collected internationally. Most recently, she hand-delivered an original Sevy Marie piece of art to Chip & Joanna Gaines. Once deemed unworthy of life, Sevy is showing the world what individuals with Down syndrome are capable of!
Jacob was born at Fort Belvoir Military Hospital in Virginia. He is a 4th grader at Willow Creek in Centennial, Colorado. His top 3 favorite things on Earth are eating beef tacos and nachos, reading chapter books, and swimming on swim team (free style and butterfly). Jacob also likes to go on trips, especially to visit family in Hawaii and snorkel Hanauma Bay, Disneyland, and camping in Telluride. He and his family dream about opening a coffee shop in the mountains with homemade energy bars, open mic nights, Friday Fun Day concerts, and free hugs.
Namaste! Yashaswi is 18 years old from Bhaktapur, the city of devotees in the heart of Nepal. She has a sister and two small cousins who she loves and enjoys teaching them their homework. She also helps her mother in stitching cloths. Yashaswi attends the Special Education and Rehabilitation Center (SERC) in Kathmandu and likes to learn to bake there. Her hobbies are cooking, cleaning and dancing, and favorite foods are MoMo and pizza. She is very studious and wants to be Nurse one day.
Luke is an active, funny, and affectionate 11-year-old from Castle Rock, Colorado. He is the youngest of three boys and likes to try and keep up with and joke around with his brothers. Luke enjoys playing sports – he plays soccer, basketball, and baseball! He is in the 5th grade and his favorite things to do at school are science experiments, reading, and playing with his friends. Luke also loves to sing (loudly), create art projects, and to play Minecraft with his brothers. He would like to be a chef when he grows up and to own a restaurant called “Luke Kinne’s Pizza and French Fries.” He is super excited to be a model, too.
Viena is a happy, loving 7-year-old from Menlo Park, California. Despite being born premature and having open heart surgery at 2 months old, she has grown into a beautiful, energetic girl with a gift for spreading joy. She is passionate about everything she does, especially swimming, dancing, art, and helping in the kitchen. Viena is very outgoing, makes friends wherever she goes, and can turn a bad day around with a smile and hug. She is well known at school for her empathy, big heart, and enthusiastic high fives. She is a Croatian American who understands and speaks Croatian, Spanish, and English. Viena’s love for life is contagious, and her caring heart makes her loved by many.
Tabia Kocks was born in Salt Lake City, Utah and raised in Graham, Washington. She is the oldest of 4 siblings. Tabia is a professional model with Down syndrome and has participated in Austin Fashion Week, Metropolitan Fashion Week Seattle, National Miss Amazing Show in Chicago, Northwest Center campaign, and more. She was named Miss Amazing Washington in 2019 and 2021. She has also competed in the Special Olympics in cycling, golf, and bowling. Her goal in life is to be a role model and an advocate for people like her.
Arti is an energetic, determined, multifaceted woman from India. She’s a Special Olympics World and Regional Games Swimming Medalist; winning her first medal at just 9 years old. She is confident and independent with a “can do” attitude and very meticulous in any work that she does. Arti builds awareness about people with Down syndrome and Special Olympics to a vast audience. Arti is resilient, especially in these pandemic times, encouraging those around her to count on their blessings, be focused and grateful, meditate, exercise, and stay involved in hobbies. Arti also enjoys cooking, cycling, and helping in daily chores. She is a fairy Godmother to her niece living in Denver.
Brittany Marie Nicole Lee is 25 from New York City and is unapologetic about what she will achieve. She graduated private school with a certificate and is still fighting the Board of Education to receive her well-deserved high school diploma. Brittany is a dancer, loves photography and animals, and plans to be a makeup artist and clothing stylist. Brittany was Miss Amazing 2019 first runner up, an ambassador for Bloomingdales, an announcer for GiGi’s Playhouse annual gala, and has performed on many stages in NYC. She’s a fierce advocate for those with special needs and a voice against youth violence. Brittany attends Borough of Manhattan Community College and is a social butterfly.
Gianna may only be 4 feet tall, but at 9 years old, she is proud, beautiful, and fearless! Her smile will capture you and her laugh will warm your heart. Gianna loves to play with her friends on the playground, enjoys dressing up, dancing and singing along with her favorite Disney movies, and family bike rides. Gianna won the Gold Medal for soccer skills at the Young Athletes Summer Games for the Special Olympics this year. Every year she is happy to lead Team GiGi with friends and family to raise money for the Rocky Mountain Down Syndrome Association. There is never a dull moment with Gianna!
Sam is 18 years old and is a Global Down Syndrome Foundation Ambassador. He recently graduated from Cherry Creek High School in Colorado, where he received a varsity letter on the wrestling team. Sam is excited to take his talents to the next level as he begins his job at University Hospital and transitions to living independently. Sam is famous for bringing a smile to everyone he meets, and he loves to spend time with his friends, especially his girlfriend.
Elizabeth is a wonderful, vibrant, and energetic 8-year-old that loves her independence. She is highly active in swimming, baseball, and cooking. Her imagination is unmatched, and she loves to act out her play to the fullest. Elizabeth loves to sing and dance and often performs, “Girl is On Fire” by Alicia Keys. She loves to attend church and is a star at her school. Some of her favorite things are ice cream, peanut butter, pizza, and pasta. She loves her family and enjoys spreading love to anyone with hugs. Elizabeth is ready to set the runway on fire by showing that this “Girl is On Fire.”
Mycah was born and raised in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. She is a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, was Prom Queen, a Global Messenger for Special Olympics Wyoming, and received a regular diploma from Jackson Hole High School. She is an assistant ski instructor at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, and works in packaging at Vertical Harvest Farms, a 3-story greenhouse. She also is an artist and has her own business, Mycah’s Memos. She has been featured in the documentary “Hearts of Glass” and has been on Q&A panels about vertical farming and inclusive employment. She also appeared on CNN regarding the documentary. Mycah lives independently in her own apartment with her kitty, Blossom.
Melissa Elayne Moody is the guiding light in her family. She is a fun-loving, adventurous young lady with a wonderful sense of humor. She enjoys traveling with her family, reading, and playing the piano. She is an avid swimmer and recently took up golf. Melissa spends time volunteering at GiGi’s Playhouse as well as attending many of the programs and activities there with many of her friends. Her nephews and niece are her pride and joy, and she loves doting on them! Currently, she works as special assistant to the Mayor of El Paso. She is excited to be modeling in this year’s fashion show!
Chase Turner Perry is a past GLOBAL Ambassador. He lives with his two younger brothers who love him, play with him and annoy him all at the same time. Chase adores his Mom and Dad and a large extended family who think he’s the leader of the band and admires his ability to light up any room. At Cherry Creek High School Chase’s favorite class is Spanish II where he enjoys speaking the language with a most perfect accent. He also can’t wait for his upcoming performance of Peter Pan, his theatre debut role is the narrator. Chase also enjoys playing the guitar, skiing, the Denver Broncos and most of all modeling.
Louie Rotella IV
2016 Global Ambassador, Louie IV is a 21-year-old from Omaha, Nebraska. He currently attends the Young Adult Program at Elkhorn High School where he enjoys learning life transition skills. Louie likes working part-time with his father and grandfather at the family business, Rotella’s Italian Bakery, Inc. Louie can bust a move to any upbeat song, likes to swim, and has a newfound enjoyment for painting abstract art. Family is everything to Louie, and Louie is everything to them.
Bryan Russell Mujica
Bryan Russell made history when he declared his candidacy for the Peruvian Congress in 2019. Entering the race in the 2020 election, he became the first person with Down syndrome to run for public office anywhere in the world. But firsts are nothing new to this twenty-seven-year-old. Five years earlier, Bryan became the first Peruvian with Down syndrome to graduate from university, where he majored in communications. Read more…
Alexandra or “Alex” is 22 years old and lives in Cherry Hills Village, Colorado. She wakes up every morning happy and delighted, asking “where are we going?” She loves her sports activities including Global Down Syndrome Foundation’s Dare to Cheer Camp, Peak Stars Dance, Unified basketball, and lacrosse. Alex loves planning her outfits with a theme of the day. Whether it’s camping at Roundup River Ranch, training at Easterseals Rocky Mountain Village, or sailing with the NSCD at Grand Lake, Alex is always ready for action.
Marcus Sikora, is a storyteller, actor, and advocate. His first published book for children, Black Day: The Monster Rock Band, was released in 2015. Since then, he has toured in support of the book, released an animated short, been on the cover of Down Syndrome World Magazine, and presented to groups of all sizes, including at the United Nations and at the World Down Syndrome Congress. His current works in progress include Black Day sequels, Marcus the Musical intended for Broadway, and a sitcom. His advice to everyone, “Don’t Panic” and “Be who you are.”
Walt is a 17-year-old junior at Westside High School in Omaha, Nebraska where he is fully included in classroom instruction. He runs track, plays percussion, and is on the unified bowling team. He cheers at football & basketball games as a school “Sparkler”. Lake Okoboji in Iowa is his happy place of water sports, boating, and family & friends. Walt, GLOBAL’s 2020 Ambassador, is an advocate for inclusion and devoted to the rights of individuals with Down syndrome. He was honored to be part of the Linda Crnic Institute’s clinical trial in combatting alopecia. His contributions to his family and community, his zest for life, and compassion for others make him beloved wherever he goes.
Kate attends 6th grade at St. Catherine School in Seattle and plays soccer, basketball, and is a Special Olympics athlete. She enjoys swimming, dancing, and gymnastics. One of Kate’s favorite things to do is play with her older brother, Kirby III. She has modeled for Nordstrom, Ivivva, and the Bellevue Collection. Kate is 12 years old now, but when she was only 15 months, she became a Global Ambassador in 2010. The Global Down Syndrome Foundation helps to ensure that Kate gets to live her life fully, which is exactly what she wants!
Sophia is the inspiration behind GLOBAL and a very proud Ambassador. A senior at DSST Byers High School, she is busy planning for a transition year and college. She studies hard, plays on her high school soccer team, enjoys PEP Committee, Jewish Culture Club, Year Book, and hanging with friends and boyfriend. She plays her music REALLY loud! Sophia is half English, a quarter Italian, a quarter Chinese and ALL American. She adores her brother Patrick, her parents, Nonna, Yeye, Granny and every member of her extended family. Sophia is an excellent pianist, swimmer, and tennis player. She is (still) CRAZY about Taylor Swift and the “Mamma Mia” movies. She is thrilled to be in the fashion show this year.
Josias, aka Jojo, was born with an unbreakable spirit and a gift of bringing true joy to others. Jojo arrived premature at 35 weeks, was put on a ventilator and came home on oxygen. He had two open heart surgeries before he was a year old and was diagnosed with leukemia in 2016. He gave thumbs up after his chemotherapy treatments to reassure his family that he was good and so brave. Josias fought for 3 years and beat it, ringing the bell in March 2020! Now Josias is a big 5th grader with the biggest heart, and his sense of humor is out of this world! Jojo’s favorite people are Kevin, Spider-Man, and of course, his mom.