Jayden Crane, of Herscher, has painted paw prints at Herscher Intermediate School in the student walkway to help the children know where to safely walk on the pavement.
When asked about the project, Jayden said it was cool to paint stuff at the school and "I liked to paint with "traffic" paint." While doing the painting, he kept saying how he just knew the little kids were gonna love it.
Recently, Jayden, who is a Member/ Artist of the Merchant Street Art Gallery of Artists with Autism in Kankakee, painted a bench as a fundraiser for the gallery.
Wanting to donate it to LeeHan Martial Arts, where he currently holds a Deputy Belt in Taekwondo, his mother, Heather Crane, made the winning bid on his bench. She states, “After picking up our bench, we delivered it where it sits in front of the studio.”
This is the second "Buddy Bench" Jayden has painted. The idea behind it is a great one. When asked why he chose a Buddy Bench, he said, "Because they (kids) who need a friend can sit on the bench and someone can be friends with them."
Heather continues, “Both the Art Gallery and the Taekwondo studio have been so great for Jayden. The gallery is great for the teachings and experiences they've allowed him (like practicing public speaking at art show openings).
Masters Lee and Han have helped Jayden build strength and confidence. Neither batted an eye when they heard "autism," they simply met him where he was and built on that. We are so blessed!”
In addition to all he has worked on and with at school, the art gallery, and the taekwondo studio, Jayden has also kept a paper route in Herscher for the last 3 1/2 years.
Jayden will be a freshman at Herscher High School in the fall. He clearly is planning a colorful future as he states, "Life is like a painting, you start with a blank canvas but you can create a beautiful painting and leave behind a legacy."