In a town bursting with amazing social services, this is one of the most heart-warming.
SNAP–short for Special Needs Athletic Programs–was founded in 2006 by brothers Matt and Zachary Certner to give special needs children self-esteem and camaraderie through sports and art.
What’s really impressive is that the Certners did this while they were kids. Zach, now a student at Morristown High School, also came up with an anti-bullying program that has turned hundreds of grade-schoolers into “ambassadors” promoting “random acts of kindness.”
We’ve covered SNAP over the years, but a new wrinkle emerged at Tuesday’s Morristown council meeting. The brothers’ mom, Sandy Certner, made an appeal for sponsors and a permanent home for the nonprofit organization.
Zachary has raised $75,000, his mother said. But the brothers want to ensure that SNAP continues after Zachary goes off to college. Matt, a senior studying international business at Duke, has a job lined up, Sandy said.
SNAP programs are offered at churches and schools around Greater Morristown. One of them, the Sussex Avenue School, is booked with holiday concerts in December–so some special needs kids are out of luck for awhile, Sandy said.
“We need a home,” she said.
Mayor Tim Dougherty said he became a SNAP fan after meeting Zachary.
“I sat there in amazement at this child,” the Mayor said. “I want to come back in 20 years and see where this kid is. He and his brother have really changed people’s lives.”