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2014 Recipient

Zach Certner

Morristown, NJ | 18

2014 Award Recipient

Zach Certner, an avid athlete, was disheartened to see a family friend, Mikey, repeatedly excluded from typical peer-building social activities such as organized sports, because his autism led others to avoid and reject him. Driven to create opportunities for kids like Mikey to meaningfully interact with their neuro-typical peers, Zach and his brother co-founded SNAP (Special Needs Athletic Programs), a project that provides opportunities for children with special needs to participate in athletic and social programming. Captured in the organization’s motto, “Kids Helping Kids,” SNAP activates a network of teen mentors to run athletic clinics that give children with special needs the chance to interact with their peers. Through the program, Zach also advocates for autism awareness by leading sensitivity trainings at schools across seven states. To date, SNAP has educated 3,500 students, trained 450 mentors and raised more than $150,000 for the cause. To grow his initiative, Zach is currently developing a webinar that will be used to train teen mentors across the country, building a sustainable model for SNAP’s future growth and flourishing.

SNAP (Special Needs Athletic Programs)

Captured in the organization’s motto, “Kids Helping Kids,” SNAP activates a network of teen mentors to run athletic clinics that give children with special needs the chance to interact with their peers.

Zach Certner

2014 AWARD RECIPIENT VIDEO