Dawn takes a weekly job looking after Whitney Cater. Whitney has Downs Syndrome and needs someone to stay with her. Whitney is trying to become more independent and wants to do things like pierce her ears, shop on her own, etc. Whitney helps Dawn out with other baby-sitting charges and the two of them strike up a friendship. Whitney even gives Dawn a friendship necklace. One day, Dawn lets slip that she is there as a baby-sitter instead of a friend, which upsets Whitney very much. After working things out, the members of the We Love Kids Club make Whitney a special helper and honorary member of the club, which makes Whitney very happy.
Dawn gets a special job through the We Love Kids Club. Actually, it's not really a baby-sitting job. Dawn has been hired to keep twelve year old Whitney company while her parents are out. Whitney, who has Down's Syndrome, is delighted to have Dawn as her friend. Dawn thinks Whitney is great, too. She's warm and fun to be around.
The only problem is Whitney doesn't know her parents are paying Dawn to be with her. And what if Whitney finds out...?
Although I haven’t gotten to know anyone with Down syndrome as well as Dawn gets to know Whitney in Dawn and Whitney, Friends Forever, when I was younger I worked with kids with various disabilities. During the summers when I was in college, I worked at Eden Institute, a school for children and young people with autism. But for a couple of summers when I was in high school, I worked at a day camp for kids with disabilities.
Some of the kids at the camp had Down syndrome, like Whitney; many of them did not. The day camp was a typical summer program. The counselors and the kids went swimming, did arts and crafts, put on plays, took field trips, and went to the playground. Although I had done lots of baby-sitting and some tutoring, I had not worked with kids with disabilities before, so I was a little nervous. But the day camp turned out to be a wonderful experience. I liked getting to know the kids and meeting some of their families. In fact, I enjoyed the experience enough so that a couple of years later, when a friend of mine told me about Eden Institute, I decided to volunteer there. Now, years later, Eden is still an important part of my life.