From my story on NewsWorks:
It all started in April when Lisa Stagliano, as many parents are wont to do, posted a photograph of her son on Facebook.
It showed her 10-year-old child Santino drawing on a T-shirt, as he was inclined to do on a tough day in a confusing world. “Santino working on his dragon shirts,” Lisa’s post read. “Autism awareness.”
At that point, nobody in the Stagliano family could have known what the next six weeks would bring but today, their lives are markedly different.
The next morning, a handful of people responded with Facebook messages saying they’d like to buy one of Santino’s $5 creations. Fast forward to this week and more than 150 shirts have been sold with orders for 500 more pending.
During that span, Santino’s Dragon Drawings Inc., a nonprofit through which the youth “custom designs each dragon shirt by hand to raise money for the Center for Autism!” was born.
It’s gotten to the point where Santino, who was diagnosed with autism when he was five, needs “interns” to help supply meet demand in an effort that not only boosts autism awareness but benefits The Center for Autism, the nonprofit which helped him understand his feelings and the world around him.