Back to The Learning Disability and Autism Leaders’ List 2018

Oak Saunders

Category: Changing communities

We should help homeless people as they are alone and need help, and no one should feel alone.

Helping the homeless

Meet Oak. Oak is 12 years’ old and he has autism, tourette’s syndrome, generalised anxiety disorder, dyslexia, coeliacs disease, immunodeficiencies, retained reflexes, hypermobility and other conditions. He also has a big heart.

He’s fundraising so he can help continue his project helping the homeless this winter. Donate online to help him reach his £500 target.

“Oak is the most caring, gentle person you could ever meet. He loves animals and has a great sense of humour.”

When Oak was first diagnosed, his parents were told that he might not talk again and might not make any friends.

He was referred to a course at Great Ormond Street Hospital for his tourette’s syndrome, in 2017. On his first of many visits to London, he couldn’t believe how common it was for homeless people to be ignored and blanked.

Oak Changing communities LDA Leaders' List 2018

Being the selfless young man he is, Oak started to make parcels to give out. Hats, gloves, food, cosmetic items, pants, socks and all the little things we so often take for granted.

Packaged up and ready to go, Oak made an effort to find people to receive his kind gifts.

Oak Changing communities LDA Leaders' List 2018

“Sometimes he finds it difficult to talk to people. But he always chats with them. He said so many people ignored them, he needed to give human contact to show that someone cared.”

This is already an incredibly generous, empathetic and incredible act of kindness. But Oak didn’t stop there.

He contacted local homeless charities to see what items they needed. The video you watched at the beginning of his story is one he made asking people to donate items for his cause.

He was seen by thousands of people, including celebrities, and was awarded the coveted Blue Peter Badge.

Here’s what he told his local newspaper: “I’m happy that people have listened to what I’ve got to say and been so generous in their donations…I really hope more people will donate so, together, we can make a difference.”

Oak Changing communities LDA Leaders' List 2018

He has so far collected hundreds of items, with one talented donor knitting hats for him to give out.

With each donation, more packages are made possible. And with each package this kind 12 year old boy hands out, is one more human being who knows somebody cares.

“We [his parents] are so proud of him and would love to see him get some kind of recognition for all he’s achieved. He is very modest about it and doesn’t see how special he is.”

We were so humbled by Oak’s selflessness and generosity. He’s truly a very special young man who is already making a positive difference in the world.

Oak is fundraising so he can help continue his project helping the homeless this winter. Donate online to help him reach his £500 target.

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