Captain Jack to be live streamed in Times Square

Barbara Layton
Reporter
Courtesy photo 
Jessica Wooten submitted this photo to the 2020 Times Square Video Presentation contest, it was one of 500 photos selected to be used in the live streamed video presentation in New York's Times Square. Pictured from left to right are Jaslyn, Captain Jack, and Juliet Wooten.

The National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) is the leading human rights organization for all individuals with Down syndrome. Each October, Down Syndrome Awareness Month is kicked off with a Times Square Video presentation on the morning of the NDSS New York City Buddy Walk.

Over 2,000 photos are submitted each year to be featured in the video, and each year it continues to grow. The featured photos highlight children, teens, and adults with Down syndrome working, playing, and learning alongside friends and family. These images are used to promote acceptance and inclusion, which according to ndss.org, is the foundation of the NDSS and the National Buddy Walk Program.

Local Ravenswood resident, 2-year-old Jack Wooten (Captain Jack), son of Jeremy and Jessica Wooten, had his photo selected as one of the 500 chosen photos to be included in the video presentation in Times Square on Sept. 12.

Jessica, a board member of the Down Syndrome Network of West Virginia, heard about the opportunity offered through the NDSS, one of their partner organizations. She decided to submit a photo of Jack and his sisters, Jaslyn and Juliet.

On July 24, Jessica received the message she had been waiting for, “Congratulations! Your photo submitted for our National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) 2020 Times Square Video was selected!”

“I think it was chosen because it’s just a great picture of a little brother that is loved so much by his sisters,” Jessica said.

She said they would normally be able to make the trip to Times Square to see the video presentation live; however, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Buddy Walk itself will be virtual this year.

“We are definitely a little bummed about not getting to go see it in person,” Jessica said. “It’s a great pic that shows he’s a perfect fit in our family.”

According to the NDSS, Buddy Walk events will be held virtually this fall in more than 150 cities across the country, and select international locations as well, with over 325,000 participants globally.

The Times Square Video will be live streamed worldwide on NDSS social media channels on Sept. 12, prior to the virtual Buddy Walk.

“West Virginia will be hosting our own Buddy Walk the first weekend in October,” Jessica said.

As part of Captain Jack’s Crew, she said it will also be a virtual event and plans to share more information about the West Virginia event soon.

“We are hoping to do a special drive by event in Ravenswood as well,” she said.

According to Jessica, the plan would be to set up somewhere in town with lots of signs, balloons, and decorations.

“We would then ask people to drive by, honk and wave - while social distancing – to celebrate everyone with Down syndrome,” Jessica said. “We like to say everyone with Down syndrome is more alike than they are different from you and me.”

Additional information on the West Virginia Buddy Walk and the possible event in Ravenswood, will be provided once available.

For information about the NDSS Buddy Walk Program, visit buddywalk.org or call 800-221-4602.