Monday, April 30, 2012


Seventeen-year-old Jonathan Bunzey lost his ability to speak when he contracted encephalitis as a toddler. But that didn't silence his passion for making sure all kids are included in everyday activities.

April 28, he stepped up his enthusiasm on the dance floor by participating in “Dancing Like the Stars” at the Southern Women’s Show. The event was sponsored by the National Inclusion Project.

He knows first-hand that confidence, learning and leadership develop through inclusion opportunities.

Jonathan started as a camper at the A.E. Finley YMCA’s summer camp.  The National Inclusion Project provided an interpreter so he could be participate with other kids. Today, Jonathan works at Finley Y’s after school program and summer day camp.

In 2007, Jonathan won the Champion of Change award for his work for kids in the Raleigh area. To date, he has raised more than $20,000 for inclusion projects. And, he donates the majority of that money to the Finley Y's We Build People program and Camp G.R.A.C.E. for autistic children.

Jonathan is such a star that he was featured in The News & Observer on the day of the competition. While Jon didn’t win the overall competition, but he and the dancers raised more than $18,000 for the National Inclusion Project.
The National Inclusion Project was founded by American Idol star and former YMCA staff member Clay Aiken.

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