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Friday, Apr 18, 2014
Northwest News

Carrollwood teen wins youth philanthropy award for autism awareness event

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A teenager’s dedication to helping those with autism has earned him the Tampa Jewish Family Services’ annual youth philanthropy award.

Jacob Weinman, a Carrollwood Day School eighth-grader, was selected for his inspiring work to raise awareness and funding to assist people with autism, according to the 60-year-old organization that bestowed him with its Danny H. Freeman Youth Philanthropy Award.

“This award speaks to the heart of Tampa Jewish Family Services’ mission to strengthen individuals and families in our community,” said Michael Barnett, the organization’s chief executive officer. “Jacob Weinman has embraced the value of philanthropy at a young age and his actions are having a direct impact on special needs families.”

The 13-year-old, with the help of his mother, Jennifer Weinman, is coordinating Brickmania, a Lego event scheduled March 22 at his school. “We’re bringing Brickmania up to CDS,” he said, explaining it continues as a Center for Autism and Related Disabilities annual fundraiser at the elementary school he attended when the family lived in South Florida.

His multifaceted, Lego-themed event will include activity tables, demonstrations and a competition of original creations, made without the help of a kit. Other plans are underway for the spring event, which will raise money through admission charges and contest entry fees.

Promoting the upcoming event, Jacob has shared its purpose with friends and classmates and with guests at his Bar Mitzvah earlier this year. Additionally, he hosted a Lego building table at the recent Fiesta by the Bay, a family-friendly fundraiser for autistic children.

The developmental disorder that appears in early childhood came to Jason’s attention in second grade. “I had two autistic children in my class; that’s how I was first introduced. And later I had more of a concept because my cousin works at an autistic school” in Texas, he said.

The award was established in 2002 by Danny H. Freeman, then age 13, who created an endowment fund in partnership with Tampa Jewish Family Services.

The honor comes with a $200 award. Jacob donated the money to CARD.

gwilkens@tampatrib.com (813) 259-7124

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