from ABC WQOW 18 By Lindsey Rykal, Multimedia Journalist/Daybreak Line Producer:
A local organization that works to empower and employ those with down syndrome recently hired on a new employee to help manage it's online store.
Jacob Lemke, from Chippewa Falls, is the team manager for Chi Hi's football program, the reigning high school prom king and he can now add staff member to that list. He is the first employee at the down syndrome footprint store.
"He's so sweet. He smiles constantly it's almost infectious. You know you can't help but not smile when you're around him and he's always giggling," said Stavroula Marcell, Down Syndrome Footprint store.
In addition to his infectious smile and laughter he's also a hard worker.
"He stays on task and does everything that we ask. So he's great, we couldn't of asked for a better first employee," added Marcell.
The down syndrome footprint store can be found online. It features merchandise that raises awareness about down syndrome while creating job opportunities. Everything that is sold is either made or packaged by someone with down syndrome.
"When Jacob comes in we have him help us tag the items and then also bag them and then he helps us with the storage of it," said Marcell.
All of the items sold online have a signature symbol on them.
"We always have the footprint in some fashion on all of our products," said Marcell.
A footprint is one indicator that an infant may have down syndrome. The footprint is unique because of the extra space between the first two toes.
"They're wonderful people. They're very friendly and sweet and nice and they're just like everybody else. And just because they have a disability doesn't mean that they can't still be productive and function in society with everyone," said Marcell.