Participant Spotlight Part One: Louis Craco

We are excited to share a beautiful story written by one of our amazing community members, Louis! Louis is 12 years old and is a huge advocate for the Down syndrome community. Please enjoy the below essay written by Louis.

Poppy and Louis Shopping

So grocery shopping is important for our community and the environment. Poppy and I go to three different food stores in Norwalk, Ct. (In Brooklyn I go to Key Foods with my Dad.) First we get fruit and vegetables. The second thing we do is go to the gluten free aisle. I have celiac disease and am on a gluten free diet. I had major pain in my stomach. My belly was almost the size of a watermelon. Now, for the rest of my life, I have to find and cook food that has to be GF (Gluten Free).
Last year we met a Lady in the gluten free section. She told me and Poppy that her daughter had celiac disease too. The daughter’s mother was very worried. I supported her and told her that I have the same thing her daughter has. She was relieved for all the good GF foods I told her about. The diet I had was not really hard, the diet is perfectly going well, and it will happen for her daughter too. She was feeling happy and Protective for her daughter.
Now we continue our progress in other aisles, but if the food is for me I have to make sure if the bag, or whatever it is, the label that has two words, Gluten Free. I really like to eat Bagels and the brand that makes them is, o’Doughs. The ice cream I like is Breyer’s and the flavors I like are Strawberry, Chocolate, Vanilla, And Butter Pecan.
In Poppy’s garden we grow organic vegetables. We grow cabbage, peas, beans, green peppers, eggplant, squash, pumpkins, potatoes, and broccoli and other kinds.
Another place we shop is Stew Leonards. In this store, they have a wishing well that you throw coins or change into. They donate the money to charity. We also get ice cream there and outside of the store they have a petting zoo. They have funny and hilarious robotic machines. Some are like humans and animals. I like the cow, when I pull on a rope or a button it will make a loud “MOOOO!!!”. Me and Poppy also saw a banjo player, and a monkey swinging on a bar. Also, some vegetable people playing instruments. I remember my other Grandfather, Pa, who died last February, used say vegetables in a funny way to say it. I like Stew Leonard’s because the machines make me want to burst out laughing.
Another store me and Poppy go to is a store called ShopRite. Poppy rides in a mobile cart and I put the food in the basket. When I was younger I used to push the cart independently all on my own. Once me and Poppy saw a lemonade stand, we went there to test it. When I put it through my lips and took a sip it had the experience of sourness.
Grocery shopping is part of the world. These grocery stores we go to are Stew Lenards, Stop and Shop , and ShopRite . When me and Poppy go shopping in these stores we need to have food and drinks so we could stay healthy and to keep us alive. In Poppy’s garden we have Pumpkins Potatoes tomato Cabbage, Broccoli, red and green peppers and also eggplant and others. When managers in these stores me and Poppy go are still in progress and they are keeping the stores clean because of the covid-nineteen. Their business are not just working at the stores they take care of the stores and most importantly they have food and drinks that keep us alive and we support and admire their hard progress and being kind to the people around the world. Now we give you the taste of a lifetime and welcome.
My name is Louis A. Craco. I’m twelve. I am a self advocate for Down syndrome. I typed this myself. June, 2021


  1. Marilee Reilly on July 22, 2021 at 5:30 pm

    Thank you, Louis, for showing us all what a great storyteller you are, and for all that helpful information about gluten-free food. You are a wonderful ambassador and advocate for anyone with a disability. You inspire others to speak up and be heard. Keep on writing to us, and hopefully your comrades with Down syndrome will take on the challenge of writing their stories, too. We all look forward to hearing what you have to say.

  2. Heather Rodriguez on July 23, 2021 at 11:53 am

    Louis! You did a great job, just like your poppy does when he shares amazing stories. I hope you will share more with us.

  3. Yamira Siu on August 28, 2021 at 3:58 pm

    Wow! Louis you have grown into a wonderful author and storyteller! I remember you and your lovely family in the early years when GiGi’s NYC opened and your family contributed so much time in getting the Playhouse ready for our community. Keep growing and writing stories for the world to read and appreciate everything that community can achieve…SO PROUD OF YOU!…Malik and Yamira

  4. Hannah Providenti on August 29, 2021 at 9:59 pm

    Absolutely beautiful!

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