LODI -- Those who know 11-year-old Micah Ward say he’s the kind of kid who lights up every room he’s in.
And next month he’ll be bringing smiles to more than just his Lodi community.
Micah is one of 500 of people born with down syndrome to be featured on a billboard in New York City’s Times Square.
“It’s was exciting because my kid’s going to be in Times Square like for everybody to see,” said Micah’s mother, Nina. “He’s important and worth celebrating.”
Nina Ward said she has submitted her son’s picture every year since he was born for the national honor.
It was a smiling photograph of Micah at Disneyland the panel simply could not turn down.
“He’s kind of on the bottom in the world’s eyes but he really is on the top of the world in my eyes and people who know him. It’s like as a mom, it's like OK, that’s my kid and he’s worthy and he’s valuable and the whole world gets to see what I see,” Nina Ward said.
Micah said one of his favorite activities is going to school at Live Oak Elementary School. His teacher, Mia Delgado, said he brightens up everyone’s day with his positivity and charm.
“He brings a lot of joy in the morning, always saying, ‘Hello, good morning.’ He comes in happy and he’s happy pretty much all day,” Delgado told FOX40. “It brings the other kids up too. If they’re having a bad day, he makes them feel better.”
Micah will be taking the trip to the Big Apple next month to kick off the National Buddy Walk, an annual event that spreads awareness about down syndrome.
While he’s there with his family, he’ll be taking a moment to look up and catch a glimpse of himself in shiny, bright lights.
“This is the future. We want our future to look like this, diverse and everybody is valued and worthy,” Nina Ward said.
The billboard goes live Sept. 14.