For the past four years, Laura Kilgus, a Rhode Island photographer, has been working with the Down Syndrome Society of Rhode Island to offer free photography sessions to children with Downs Syndrome and their families.

Kilgus has photographed dozens of children and on October 1, she displayed her photographs at Rhode Island’s Warwick Public Library to kick off Down Syndrome Awareness Month.

This project was inspired by Kilgus’s nephew, Tommy, who has Down Syndrome. “I just wanted to be able to honor this special little man some way. He’s a regular kid and a very sweet little man. He has two loving siblings, Evie and Joey, and the most wonderful parents, so he’s already having the best life,” Kilgus said of her nephew.

Through her photographs, Kilgus aims to show the children’s spirited energy and enthusiasm for life.

“The kids from the DSSRI are seriously some of the most inspiring, funny and happiest children I have ever met,” Kilgus said. “Their joy and loving spirits are incredibly inspiring, and they have been wonderful witnesses of love to me.”

Kilgus’s phtotgraphs have had an impact in the country and throughout the world; more photos can be viewed on her Facebook page.

“This beautiful expression has been a incredible way to give these kids and the Down syndrome community an audience to further show how obviously awesome and lovable they are.”

Jowelle M. is a college student interested in sociology, political science, and Spanish. Aside from academics, Jowelle enjoys blogging, reading, music, and spending time with family. She is happiest when she is working with others to improve the community.