14-Year-Old Model with Down Syndrome to Be Featured on Billboard in Times Square: 'I Did It!'
Isabella Hass may be young, but she's used to accomplishing whatever she sets her mind to.
So it's no surprise that the 14-year-old was selected as one of 500 faces to be featured in the National Down Syndrome Society's annual Times Square Video presentation.
"I'm happy," Isabella, of Westlake Village, California, tells PEOPLE. "I did it!"
The one-hour video, which is set to display on two Jumbotron screens in New York City on Saturday, will include hundreds of photographs of children, teens and adults with Down syndrome from all 50 states.
NDSS President and CEO Kandi Pickard tells PEOPLE the presentation aims to promote the value and inclusion of people living with Down syndrome. It also kicks off the annual flagship Buddy Walk and comes ahead of Down Syndrome Awareness Month in October.
"The annual Times Square Video and New York City Buddy Walk are extremely special events for the NDSS, for the individuals and families who participate and for the entire Down syndrome community," Pickard says. "The video demonstrates the beauty of diversity and celebrates the way our loved ones with Down syndrome enrich our families and our society. We are thrilled to have all 50 states represented and to have people from across the country watching in Times Square and on our NDSS Facebook page."
Isabella's mom, Patricia Hass, tells PEOPLE she couldn't be more excited for her tenacious daughter, who also recently represented California in the 2021 Miss Amazing competition.
"I am so proud of her," she says. "Not only because of her achievements at such a young age, but for her huge heart, her kindness, the way she loves everyone without filters, the way she encourages people and the way she carries herself."
"She is quiet about her strength. It speaks more than what she can verbalize," Patricia adds. "Life is a bit harder for her but she works hard, does not give up and achieves her dreams. She does not listen to the naysayers and walks with her head up, proud of who she is."
In addition to competing in pageants, Isabella's hobbies include modeling, basketball, gymnastics, cheerleading and dance. She's also performed in local theater productions and has gone to Congress to speak on behalf of people living with special needs.
"My daughter is an example that you can do anything," Patricia says. "She's breaking all these stereotypes... The most important thing for me is that she's happy and fulfilled."
RELATED VIDEO: Model with Down Syndrome Makes New York Fashion Week History!
Looking ahead, Patricia hopes her daughter will continue following her passions, taking the world by storm and proving to others that there are no limits.
"As a parent, I will do whatever I have in my hands to help her," she says. "But you also have to just let them fly, let them be whatever they want to be — disability or no disability."
"Have faith in your kids and get out of the way, because they're going to be the ones who are going to guide you in what they want to do with their life," she adds. "And for other kids with Down syndrome, or any disability for that matter, I want them to know you can do it."
The NDSS presentation will be live-streamed from their Facebook page on Saturday, Sept. 18, from 9:30-10:30 a.m. ET.
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