Caleb's story

First published on 20th July, 2018 by Lisa Wachsmuth

A Dapto boy with Down Syndrome is excited to be gracing the pages of Target Australia’s latest catalogue.

Caleb Jordan’s star turn was initiated by mum Julie who posted a photo of the 12-year-old to the chain’s Facebook page a couple of months ago.

''This is my son Caleb who has Down Syndrome. I have noticed that Target in America are using models with a disability. I think it would be great to see the same in Australia's catalogues,'' she wrote.

It didn’t take long for Target Australia’s marketing team to get back to Mrs Jordan – and send her two tickets to Melbourne for a photo shoot.

''They’d allowed a couple of hours for the shoot but he walked onto the set the most confident I’ve ever seen him,''she said. 

''He had a big smile on his face and went through four changes of clothing, and two different sets, within 45 minutes.''

Mrs Jordan said Caleb, who just completed Year 6 at Figtree Public School, had been ‘’counting the sleeps’’ till the catalogue came out.

''He’s so excited and so were all our family and friends,'' she said.

''This kind of thing is really important for inclusion – you and I have 46 chromosomes and Caleb has 47 so he’s more alike, than different.

''Another mother who has a new baby with Down Syndrome has already messaged me to say how much hope it gave her to see Caleb in the catalogue.''

Target Australia spokeswoman Kristene Reynolds said the team loved working with Caleb for the shoot.

''Caleb was a natural, and the shots we used really capture the fun we all had on the day,'' she said.

''Diversity is key for us when it comes to advertising, catalogues and product, and we want our shoppers to see themselves reflected in our branding.’’

Mrs Jordan credits the KidzWish Foundation with Caleb’s growing confidence. He takes part in the charity’s sports academy and music and dance programs, and is one of their child ambassadors.

''He doesn’t have good verbal speech and is generally quite shy,'' she said.

''For the first six months of attending the music and dance program he sat on my lap, then one day he got off my lap and sat on the floor and then slowly inched his way into the group.

''Now he’s out the front trying to conduct the orchestra.''

KidzWish Karouna Micheal said it had been a ‘’blessing’’ to see Caleb grow in confidence.

''KidzWish is so proud of Caleb. He is a great ambassador not only for our cause but for all the Illawarra and South Coast children who are sick, disadvantaged or have a disability,'' he said.

— Lisa Wachsmuth

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