The Hug at the White House | Manhattan Times

Story by Gregg McQueen

Ian poses with the First Lady and Asborno (left). (Photo: Steven E. Purcell)

Ian poses with the First Lady and Asborno (left). (Photo: Steven E. Purcell)

This sleuth went from subway surfing to star-gazing at the White House.

While riding the subway recently, nine-year-old Harlem resident Ian Aquino provided train directions to a lost tourist, helping the man reach his destination.

Though the man had asked Aquino’s mother, Susan Montes, for assistance, it was the youngster who responded.

“At one time, Ian never would have done that,” Montes said of her son, who is on the autism spectrum. “He never would have tried to communicate with someone in that way.”

Montes said her son has become more socially engaged since participating in Subway Sleuths, a program for autistic children at Brooklyn’s New York Transit Museum.

In November, Subway Sleuths was one of 12 national programs honored by First Lady Michelle Obama at the White House during the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards.

“These outstanding programs are expanding horizons, changing lives, and helping young people fulfill their dreams—across America and around the world,” said Obama, who serves as Honorary Chairman of the President’s Committee on  the Arts and the Humanities. “Each of these programs is using achievement in the arts and humanities as a bridge to achievement in life.”

Read more: The Hug at the White House | Manhattan Times

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