NEW YORK — A 3-year-old Chicago girl was featured in Times Square over the weekend to represent those all over the country with Down syndrome.

Olivia Smith was selected from over 2,400 applicants to have her smiling face put up in the Big Apple. After receiving the good news, her parents, Mike and Audrey, of Jefferson Park, made plans to drive to New York.

The video presentation, which lasted an hour on Saturday, is an annual event in the New York City Buddy Walk. The National Down Syndrome Society puts on the walk and video with the goal of showcasing children, teens and adults with Down syndrome to promote inclusion.

Olivia happy in Times Square

It was Olivia’s first time in New York and her parents said she was so excited.

When her big moment came, Olivia and her parents were ready for it.

“When she’s happy she loves to clap and when she saw herself she started clapping,” father Mike Smith said. “The whole moment was surreal.”

The family then got to Central Park for the walk. The event raised over $300,000 and several family members, friends and co-workers helped donate for Olivia.

Olivia on the big screen

Moving forward, Smith hopes the stigma around Down syndrome goes away.

“Looking at folks as who they are and allowing them to be visible is something that I hope we continue to move towards,” Smith said.

Even when she was born, Smith understands why, but he wishes the news was more positive.

“It wasn’t like ‘oh congratulations!’,” Smith recalled. “It was like ‘oh my God, your kid has Down syndrome.'”

Smith said raising her and thousands of others like her across the U.S. is “nothing to be afraid of.”

He and Olivia joined WGN Evening News at 4 Monday to talk more about the moment.

As the National Down Syndrome Society has grown, roughly 150 Buddy Walk events take place across the country.