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Local sixth grader teaches about autism and acceptance through book

May 22, 2018 11:17AM

Gabe Feinberg shows off his book, "Alex and His New Friends."

By Mary Flenner

Gabe Feinberg, a sixth grade student at Ballard Brady Middle School in Orange Village, is raising funds for a nonprofit through a book he wrote about a boy with autism.

“He’s just special,” Gabe’s mom, Michelle Feinberg says.  “Gabe has always been very caring and very accepting.”

After volunteering with the Broadway Buddies program, an adaptive musical theatre program for children with special needs, a friendship blossomed between Gabe and his partner, Jack, a student with autism.

Through his volunteer experience, and friendship with Jack, he learned more about autism and was inspired to write a book on the topic for his sixth grade “Passion Project.”

The book titled, “Alex and His New Friend,” tells the story of two classmates, Alex and Emily.  Emily tries to befriend Alex, who has autism, but they have some misunderstandings when she doesn’t understand that Alex communicates a little differently.  After a teacher educates Emily about autism, she understands that Alex may not have been ignoring her, but that he just has a harder time communicating verbally, for example.  The two end up becoming friends and playing together in the sandbox every day.

The book received such overwhelming response and support that he wanted to see what else he could do to take it further.  He decided to sell the book for his Bar Mitzvah, when many kids use the opportunity to give back to a good cause.

He printed the book with the support of a local printer, DigiCom Graphics, with 100% of sales benefiting Kids in Flight, a nonprofit organization that uses aviation to empower children with serious illnesses or disabilities and their families through flight experiences and educational programs.  Books sell for $18, which is a significant number in the Jewish faith and means “life” in Hebrew.

Gabe’s book has already raised about $500, and he has hopes of donating $2,000 by his Bar Mitzvah in the fall.

“The book teaches kindness and acceptance. We’re so very proud.  We were very excited about this project because it can do so much good,” Michelle continued.

To purchase a book, contact Michelle at 216-233-2567 or email [email protected]

Learn more about Kids in Flight online at KidsinFlight.org.

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