Kenzi Jupp, 13, released his own book entitled ‘I’m Just Me’ after discovering a knack for poetry whilst he was in primary school.
His aim was to raise £1000 for Derbyshire Autism Services – a charity that helped him and his family after he was diagnosed with Asperger’s.
After hitting his four-figure target, Kenzi said: “It feels great to have raised so much money and have acheived my inital goal of £1000 for Derbyshire Autism Services. It also makes me feel proud because when I was first diagnosed I was really scared and confused about what having autism meant for me.
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“DAS helped me lots – I had a really great support worker called Hannah and she really helped me to understand and stop my worries. I was lucky enough to get funding through Children in Need, so it’s made me happy to have been able to ‘repay’ the money so that others can also receive the support I did.”
Ian Cooper is the headteacher at Outwood Academy Hasland Hall, where Kenzi is a pupil. He said he was incredibly proud of him – having made remarkable progress since he first arrived at the academy.
“When I first met Kenzi, he had taken on some really big changes for someone with autism. With Covid and starting at a new school, he was highly anxious.
“We’ve developed a relationship off the back of his poetry, and supported him all the way through with that. He’s done some nice poetry about the academy itself but his work about autism has gone national – Police Scotland have used his poetry to aid their training around autism.
“If we can help Kenzi raise awareness around autism through poetry, that’s fantastic. We’re immensely proud of him.”
Steve Freeborn, chair of Derbyshire Autism Services, said that seeing Kenzi’s achievements was a boost for everyone involved with the charity.
“Kenzi’s a lovely person. We think he’s a very talented young man and through his efforts, he’s been really involved in improving autism awareness across the county. We’re really proud to be associated with him.
“Certainly, the money is going to be used towards Kenzi’s mission. I like to think that we’ve been able to help lots of autistic children across the county throughout the years with our work, and long may that continue.
“We’re facing some challenges, but what Kenzi has done is really enthusing for us, and getting feedback like we have from him and seeing what he’s achieved gives us all great satisfaction – it makes it all worthwhile.”
Even after hitting his fundraising milestone, Kenzi is showing no signs of slowing down – with plans to publish another book in the next 12 months.
“I am now working on getting my book into all schools and libraries in the UK, as well as converting my ‘one wish’ poem into my second book, which will hopefully be out this time next year.
“I’m also looking at developing the characters Kenzi and Arni into other books, that will explain how to deal with different situations that other autistic children may find themselves. Hopefully I can turn the negative situations I have found myself in into positive situations for others.”