Muskegon students raising awareness for people with Down Syndrome

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MUSKEGON, Mich. -- A West Michigan teacher is hoping to raise awareness by getting students involved in a special project meant to create awareness for people with Down Syndrome.

Ashley Sherman is a special education teacher at Reeths-Puffer Middle School in Muskegon County, hoping to create awareness for people living with the congenital disorder.

"We are spreading awareness through videos and we have our ribbon and bracelets that we are selling for Down Syndrome Awareness Day so we are hoping we are empathetic and understanding and creating a kind climate here," Sherman said.

Teachers we talked to say the school pairing students up with those who are different then them allowing kids to see that we are all not the same.

"It is important for use here at Reeths-Puffer to educate others about Down Syndrome because we have students who have Down Syndrome and we want them to be included, we want them to be understood, we want our student body to be empathetic towards them," said school counselor Janie Mitchelson.

"The bigger picture is our students are going to go out into this big world of ours can then use these skills of understanding and empathy in whatever venue they choose to use in their life in terms of what their future holds," Mitchelson said.

Sherman has ordered 50 pairs of socks for the students, costing $12 each, with a portion of the proceeds going towards the National Down Syndrome Society.

Students will get to wear the socks on March 21 for World Down Syndrome Day in addition to taking part in a video the school plans to share with the entire school, something teachers and students alike say they are thrilled to be part of.

"People with Down Syndrome are just like every one else, they are still kind, they are still understanding and they are just good friends because they understand you as much as you understand them," said Makenzie Languirand, a 7th grader.

The socks are marked with a number three for the third chromosome that is involved with the 21st chromosome.

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