- Associated Press - Saturday, February 8, 2014

ROANOKE, Va. (AP) - He’s part artist, part philanthropist.

Connor Jones recently sold about two dozen of his works and donated the proceeds to charity.

His colored pencil beachscapes are the most popular with his clientele. They show an idyllic coast with a shining sun, small blue waves and a palm tree.

But Connor is more partial to another one of his pieces.

It shows a well-muscled Batman atop a roof with a city skyline in the back.

He likes to draw cartoons.

He’s 9.

The fourth-grade philanthropist came up with the plan himself: sell his artwork for 50 cents each and donate the funds to charity.

In December he raised $100 and spent it on supplies for Angels of Assisi, a Roanoke animal shelter.

“I just thought dogs are like humans too and cats too, they need help,” he said. “They are like us.”

Connor and his mother Annalee Jones bought bags of dog and cat food and treats, as well as kitty litter and dog toys, paper for the shelter’s office and paper towels.

When Connor first started selling his work and told his mother he wanted to donate the money, Jones said it shocked her. He later opted to help Angels of Assisi.

“He said Angels of Assisi because animals can’t help themselves,” Jones recalled. “It was a proud mommy moment. . I’ve always tried to teach him to do for others.”

Connor mostly sold to friends, family and people at Jones‘ work. She said it wasn’t long before people started placing orders and paying more than Connor’s asking price, some between $5 and $10 a drawing.

“It’s amazing the following he had from what little we’ve been advertising,” she said.

Jones said Connor sold between 20 and 25 drawings and has plans to begin raising money for another charity.

“I think it’s important for kids to learn at a young age we can help everyone in the community if we try,” she said.

Connor, for his part, said he liked creating the drawings and helping out, though he wasn’t quite sure why.

“I really don’t know. I just like doing it,” he said. “I like seeing people saying thank you and all that.”

Mountain View Elementary School Principal Leigh Porter said Connor, who is in the school’s gifted art program, is a role model to other students. She said the school strives to teach children about positive behavior and the joy received from giving to others.

“There’s nothing any greater than that,” she said, explaining Connor has given back to his community.

Porter said Connor has been creating his drawings outside school, and when she first learned what he was up to, it came as a surprise.

“The surprise came from not knowing he was doing this,” she said. “Was I surprised it was Connor? No. He’s such a wonderful boy.”

Lisa O’Neill, Angels of Assisi executive director, said the children of the community have opened their hearts for the shelter, but Connor’s story, creating and selling his artwork to raise funds, is a first.

“When kids can learn compassion and how to lend a helping hand at young age like Connor, it makes all the difference in our community and gives us hope for the future,” she said.


Information from: The Roanoke Times, https://www.roanoke.com

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