Thank you as always for your support. As our site grows, we want to continue to educate you as we learn. In that spirit of sharing, today on Project: Just Like You, we’re interviewing Lauren Costabile.
In 2015, the Down Syndrome Congress declared a “More Alike Than Different” theme for World Down Syndrome Day. Lauren created a short film (watch below!) that was broadcast world-wide during World Down Syndrome Day. In addition to World Down Syndrome day, Costabile’s videos have also been featured on: The Mighty, Upworthy,
Love What Matters, Good News Network ,Elite Daily, and littlethings.com. You never know what you’ll learn about someone until you interview them. So, aside from tap dancing, we discovered that Down Syndrome awareness is a passion for Lauren and we wanted to know more about that.
PROJECT JUST LIKE YOU: Tell us more about yourself. What makes you tick?
COSTABILE: I am a speaker, writer, film creator and an advocate for Down syndrome. I am a Jersey girl. I strongly believe in creating a world of inclusion through media, a world where we can put aside our differences and embrace the fact that we all deserve to be loved, included and accepted in our society. My mission is to show the world just how beautiful these people truly are!
PROJECT JUST LIKE YOU: How did you become so involved with the Down Syndrome community?
COSTABILE: 10 years ago, I volunteered as a counselor at a week long sleep away camp, the MidHudson Valley Camp in Esopus NY for children with disabilities. I didn’t have much experience with special needs before that, and the first camper I met had Down syndrome and he greeted me with a smile and gave me a big hug. He didn’t even know me and he showed me such love. This said so much about his character and it really stuck with me.
PROJECT JUST LIKE YOU: What are your thoughts about the “More Alike than Different” movement?
COSTABILE: This movement has shown people that it’s so important to focus on our similarities as people instead of tearing each other down because of our differences. Disability or not, we all want to be loved and accepted. We truly are all more alike than different.
PROJECT JUST LIKE YOU: What inspired you to create the “More Alike Than Different” video?
COSTABILE: I have a huge passion for children with disabilities, and children with Down syndrome hold a special place in my heart. My brother Paul works in the entertainment business and we always wanted to do something to bring awareness to this community. We wanted to create something that could really make a difference and change the way people view those with disabilities. We decided that World Down syndrome day was the perfect time to release something. We filmed a lot of the film at Gigi’s playhouse, a Down Syndrome achievement in NYC, where I taught dance at the time. A lot of the kids in the video were my students from the dance class. We film. We received a lot of support from the Down syndrome and special needs community! The positive feedback was overwhelming!
PROJECT JUST LIKE YOU: What do you see for the future of the movement “More Alike Than Different?”
COSTABILE: I hope that everyone will recognize that we really are more alike than different, that every life has dignity and extreme purpose and value.
PROJECT JUST LIKE YOU: Can you share a story of how your film has made an impact on someone’s life or changed their view point?
COSTABILE: I heard that teachers were playing it in their classes to their students to educate and raise awareness. I thought that was so cool! I sincerely hope it made an impact on everyone who watched it and I hope it broadened their perspective and changed their opinion of what it means to have DS.
PROJECT JUST LIKE YOU: Besides advocacy, what do you do for fun?
COSTABILE: I spend time with my family and friends. I love to snuggle up on the couch and watch a good movie while eating a big bowl of popcorn.
Lauren, thank you for corresponding with Project: Just Like You this week, and thank you for raising awareness that all children have a purpose and we have more in common than not as a human race! Please enjoy Lauren’s video below (you may even recognize one of the video’s stars: Princess Kayla- featured right here on Project: Just Like You!) To learn more about Lauren, check out her website and follow her on Facebook: