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Local non-profit uses photo shoot to spark conversation about acceptance

Variety KC
Posted at 4:42 PM, Feb 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-25 17:45:32-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As the saying goes, "a picture's worth a thousand words," and Variety the Children's Charity of Kansas City is hoping a photo shoot will spark a conversation.

Katie Ireland has been waiting to share this moment with her daughter for her entire life.

"I've been too terrified of people not being able to work with her," said Ireland.

Getting dressed up for photos seems like a simple task, but for Ireland, it's been one she's avoided until Monday. Her five-year-old daughter Charlotte, or "Lottie," is undiagnosed but has global developmental delays and is non-verbal and unable to walk. That didn't stop Lottie and other children from smiling when the spotlight hit them.

"Our job is to get them included. So today we're doing the first-ever professional photo shoot. We'll have 20 different kids with 20 different special needs," said Deborah Wiebrecht, Executive Director of Variety KC.

Variety KC has been around for 85 years. Their sole purpose is to provide opportunities for inclusion in the community.

"Every child with special needs wants to be treated like a normal child, they want every opportunity average kids have," said Wiebrecht.

Wiebrecht is doing her part to make sure kids with disabilities are known to the world.

"Brands and marketing should include kids with special needs along with able-bodied children," said Wiebrecht.

Wiebrecht said one picture can start one conversation about differences and acceptance.

"This is something I think shows how much, us as families, how much our kids want to be just like any other kid," said Ireland.