Nicholas Popowich is an ambitious 24-year-old.
He spends half of his working week studying theatre arts at the University of Regina, and the other half working at a SaskTel kiosk in a Regina mall. He dreams of taking his acting career to Broadway or Hollywood and says he would like to get married and have children some day, too.
"My aspirations are very normal," Popowich said. "Maybe I would like to retire one day, maybe I would like to run my own business. Maybe I can see myself really putting myself out there."
Popowich is a member of a national committee called Voices At The Table Advocacy. The group, run through the Canadian Down Syndrome Society, aims to educate the general public on what living with Down syndrome is like.
He's sharing his experiences for National Down Syndrome Awareness Week.
Popowich says he confronts ignorance on a regular basis. He says people have misconceptions about people who have Down syndrome, and it can be tough to convince them to break those misconceptions.
"People treat me poor, treat all of us poorly," Popowich said. "Just thinking, 'Man, these people are just uneducated people'. Its not my fault... I am not retarded at all. Being educated is the best anyone can be."
Despite the challenges others' misconceptions can create, Popowich does not dwell on them for long.
Popowich said he wants people to realize that those with Down syndrome are regular people.
After sharing his insight on ignorance and his own negative experiences, he returns the conversation to his dreams, and the positive things in his life. He has a love for painting and creating. He draws inspiration from the works of Picasso and other pop culture icons.
National Down Syndrome Awareness Week runs from November 1-7.