BY: USA GAMES CORRESPONDENT, MIKE GASTINEAU
David Fine’s son Kenny was diagnosed with autism before his second birthday. Among the many thoughts and emotions Fine had to sort through after the diagnosis was how to explain the situation to Kenny’s cousins.
A few days later he was talking to his niece Jessie about Kenny when she interjected a point.
“Mom told me he needs help to learn how to play,” then six-year-old Jessie said to her uncle. Kenny was non-verbal so the act of showing him how to play was not necessarily going to be easy. Jessie was undaunted.
“I want to help him,” she said. “I want to show him how to play.”
And on the simple premise of helping Kenny learn how to play, a lifelong love for her cousin (as well as a passion for helping people with intellectual disabilities) started for Jessica Lynn Minard. She’s now 27 and she was nominated by Fine to be recognized by the 2018 USA Games #ImAGameChanger campaign.