Sam Smiles Project: Wisconsin teen with down syndrome collects hygiene products for the homeless

Posted at 7:22 PM, Apr 04, 2018

You can find the hard workers of Sam Smile's Project, Sam and Susan Mayer, inside J & H Heating. Along the hall is where you'll find Sam's office.

The project's name Sam Smile's is lost on no one. Together Sam and Sue collect toiletries and snacks for hygiene packs to give to Mr. Bob's Under the Bridge nonprofit. 

Sam was born with various health complications. Doctors told Sue that her son would never walk or talk. But Sam can do both! He does have down syndrome, but nothing seems to slow him down. 

Together the pair tries to make deliveries to Mr. Bob every 2-3 weeks. So far they've given out 130 hygiene packs along with 24 sets of long underwear. This coming Friday, April 6, Sam will deliver 75-100 more packs, 168 pairs of warm crew socks, 72 long sleeve t-shirts and 72 pairs of insulated gloves. 

Sue's advice she give to any parent is just to enjoy your kid, meet them where they're at and always try give them encouragement. 

"To see him have that ah-ha moment where he goes, 'AH! I got it!' and the smile, and it's genuine," said Sue. 

Sam seems to tell Sue he loves her every second of the day, and she loves it.  Together they work for at least three hours on either the project or one of his part-time jobs. 

Sam puts in a lot of work, buying and collecting the items, sorting them, and then putting the bags together. His mom says Sam does get a lot of out it.  

"It's a win-win because you're working his brain and for somebody who's had a brain injury, just to keep challenging different things like that," said Sue. 

The pair have been working with the nonprofit since February and plan to continue. Sue says there's a possibility of them expanding by asking some of Sam's friends to help.