Boy With Autism Becomes Inspiration, Helps Haiti

Connor Zero, 7, attends the Friends' School

Reports out of the area where Indiana meets Kentucky have laced headlines with some left over Valentine’s Day love.

The story shows how a small gesture of kindness turns into a complete campaign for aiding children in need.

What’s the story? According to courier-journal.com, Conner Zero, a 7-year-old boy with autism was deeply moved after watching the suffering of the Haitian children his age on television. The report he watched said that the children were left without food, shelter and their belongings.

The fact that this saddened Conner might seem normal for a young child. However, Conner has autism. One characteristic that commonly comes with an individual whom is on the autistic spectrum is a complete lack of empathy.

According to the report, after seeing the news that day, Conner went to his parents and handed them two $5 dollar bills. He then explained how he wanted to help the children in Haiti, who were affected by the storm. He said he wanted to help because the children didn’t have anything and had lost their favorite toys.

Conner’s mother Diane Zero, of Crestwood, said, “reaching out was a really big deal.”

Now, Connor small gesture has grown into something more. Since then, mother Diane, took her son’s money to school and told Conner’s teacher, Jennifer Long. Now, the school, Friends School in St. Matthews, is raising money as well. So far the school has raised over $1,000.

Specifically, these monies will go to the St. Damien Hospital in Port-au-Prince. This hospital is a free facility and offers pediatrics. The hospital is that is supported through donations from around the world.

Conner’s mother said, “It’s a lot bigger than I first envisioned.” According to her, corporate sponsors like Papa John’s, Calistoga Bakery Cafe and Texas Roadhouse also have helped out.

According to the report, of the school’s 155 students, 30 percent have special needs.

Kris Christensen, director of Friends School, said besides helping children in Haiti, the project also has helped her students “realize the power they have to help people.”

Gabi Badia, 6, said she brings bags of cans to school because “we’re raising money so they can go to the hospital and get well,” while Dominic Wolf, 6, said he might donate money to the cause.

When asked how it feels helping other people, Connor replied, “Good,” and explained, “They lost some of their favorite stuff.” His mother noted that it was an amazing thing to see considering that between the ages of 2 and 4, he was nonverbal.

“Here he is going up to leaders in the community, thanking them for helping him with his cause,” she said. “I’m just so proud of him.”

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