Big brother Andrew ‘s goal is to help kids with disabilities. He’s inspired by his 10 year old brother, Nate, who has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
They two were born 6 years apart but their bond is unlike any other. He sees his younger brother have difficulty with common everyday activities. So he decided to start gathering gently used therapeutic toys and devices for children on the autism spectrum disorder.
Through his Eagle Scout team he created Operation Super. He explained he doesn’t like the word ‘special’ because, nowadays, its used in a derogatory manner. So he decider on superhero because that’s how he sees his younger brother.
At the moment, their most sought after items are noise-canceling headphones, ring stackers, shape sorters, fidget toys and tables, and educational activity games. There are six collection sites set up around the area in Hope Lutheran Church in Viera, Faith Viera Church, the Holz Law Group in Rockledge, Parkway Psychiatry in Melbourne, Merritt Island Christian Academy and Florida Counseling Center in Melbourne.
He’s teamed up with local organization Autism Early Enrichment who will be distributing the donations to various programs and schools who assist children with special needs.
So far he hasn’t received many toys but he’s hopeful that with more exposure and word-of-mouth more people will donate. He would love to give other kids the opportunity and support that has been helpful for his brother.
Andrew is an active member in the community, a camp counselor at Kiwanis Island Summer Camp, and volunteer at Viera Hospital. He loves science and working with children. In the future he hopes to combine both of his passions and become a pediatrician to continue to help others.
His efforts have been recognized by others as well. Director of Autism Early Enrichment James Holz, who is also a parent of an autistic child, was extremely impressed by Andrew’s vision and ability to execute such a ambitious project.
By Raiza Belarmino