Eagles' Wings Foundation
Dinner & Auction
Dinner & Auction Speaker
"I am Jake Pratt, and I am from Vestavia Hills, Alabama. I am 24 years old and I am a graduate of Clemson Life. I work two jobs, one at a local golf course and the other at UPS. I was first hired by UPS as a helper for the holidays. I trained with my driver, Richard Wilson, and I worked up to 8 hours per day, after working my morning shift at the golf course. UPS has now hired me as a permanent unloader at the hub in Homewood. I work 6 AM to 11 AM at the golf course, and then 4:30 PM to 9:30 PM at UPS, five days per week. I love both of my jobs and I am so glad to be able to do them. I like to stay busy and active and I even find time to work out. I hope my story makes people happy and that I can be a role model for kids with Down Syndrome."
Jake has accomplished so much in his life and continues to raise awareness and break down barriers. During his senior year in high school, Jake gained national attention for earning a spot on the Vestavia Hills football team and scoring a touchdown. The video of that touchdown went viral and prompted many media appearances where Jake was able to promote inclusion and show the world that he, and others with Down Syndrome, are fully capable of achieving their dreams. Jake's touchdown was even featured on ESPN. Jake’s biggest dream was to attend college, and he was accepted into the Clemson LIFE program, where he thrived. Since graduation, Jake has been able to obtain two jobs. He works with the grounds department at a local golf course each morning, then he is off to his second job with UPS unloading packages. While Jake was initially hired by UPS as a seasonal position, his dedication and hard work earned accolades and Jake was offered a permanent role with the company. Jake's new position even includes fully paid health and dental benefits, paid time off, and a pension plan. UPS was so inspired by Jake that they have donated $50,000 to date to Down Syndrome Alabama to establish a Jake Pratt Scholarship Fund. Last year, the first four scholarship recipients were awarded a total of $13,000 to pursue their dreams of higher education. Jake's job at UPS earned national attention with appearances in People magazine and on ABC World News Tonight with David Muir. When Jake was born, our family was told many negative things, including the statement that Jake would “never be a functional member of society.” We were blessed to have many people from the Down Syndrome community who reached out to show support and provide hope for Jake’s future. This is why it is so important for us to pay it forward and allow Jake to shine like the superstar he is. Jake is strong, independent, and motivated and we are so thankful that others are willing to see his abilities as the individual that he is. Jake has a goal of living independently and we have no doubt that he will continue to make his dreams come true.