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Hi. My name is Jayden Crane.

I am 12 years old and I am in the 7th grade at Limestone Middle School. I live with my Mom, Dad and pet cat, Perry. I have an older sister who lives in Iowa. I like to take road trips to visit her (and her two cats!) I love to create things. I like to draw whatever comes to my mind because I want to remember them incase I forget.  I like doing art because it is fun. My imagination can be endless. I am a good reader and read lots of books! I like science and animals. I like to play Minecraft especially with Dad. I like to help others. Donating makes me feel good! I have had a paper route for the couple of years and I love it. it’s the best one. I like when I get to see and talk to my customers.  I currently have a green belt in taekwondo. It is hard some days but I like Masters Lee and Han. They believe in me and push me to improve.

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 “The Merchant Street Art Gallery of Artists with Autism has been a safe haven for my son, Jayden. It is a rare place where he can learn and grow without fear. He can be brave here.  He has opened up and made friends. It is has been truly great to see him interact with younger and older artists without care or thought. (Sometimes I think he is a better person that I am, seeing others the way he does.) The life skills he has practiced in the safety net of the gallery are now flowing to other parts of life such as public speaking which he does during art show openings and working in groups. He has grown from a little guy who would get upset and need support during classes to one who has helped to calm others. I’ve heard him complement an artist on her work after she got upset that it was “bad and wrong.” This is HUGE for any kid but expressing empathy tends to be difficult for those with an Autism diagnosis. The gallery has been such an oasis for Jayden. I never would have imagined that first day how much of a blessing it would be to our family. That simply does NOT happen without dedication and HEART. I am eternally grateful to the director, volunteers, fellow artists and parents who have helped at the gallery.  I pray others are able to grow and benefit here for years to come.”

                                    ~Heather Crane, Mother of Jayden