Good afternoon, and here’s your Thursday feel-great story from Niagara Catholic.
Wesley Baker is in Grade 1 at St. Charles Catholic Elementary School in Thorold. He’s the cutie in the photo, along with his dad, Casey, a songwriter who goes by the moniker Neon Cowboy.
When Wesley was four, his dad asked him to help write a song about an adventure. Wesley provided the details for the adventure – sailing on a pirate ship searching for buried treasure – and Casey wrote the music and the lyrics. Wesley provides his own spoken-word parts of the song on the track as well. The track was shared with family as a Christmas gift in 2019.
Last September, Wesley was diagnosed on the autism spectrum.
“We understood all of a sudden why Wes was having a hard time regulating emotions while excelling in other areas like vocabulary and building,” recalls Casey in a press release. “We knew immediately that we needed to explore every potential form of support to give Wes the tools he needs to succeed. We also knew that this was an opportunity to educate ourselves, help Wes carve his own path, and celebrate what makes him unique.”
The song is called Treasures That We Find, and on the surface is about an adventure from the perspective of a child. But the closer you listen, the more it becomes apparent that the song is truly about perseverance, overcoming challenges, and finding the treasures hiding in our own everyday lives.
Casey reached out to an artist friend, asking him to design a visual layout for the song modelled to resemble a children’s book cover complete with cartoon snakes and even an illustrated version of Wesley himself.
Once they had the song and the artwork, Casey and his wife Tiffanie Penn reached out to Autism Ontario not only to explore support options for their family, but also to see if the organization might be interested in using the song as a promotional tool to support World Autism Awareness Month.
“At Autism Ontario, we are excited when a member of our community steps up and uses creativity and the arts to Celebrate the Spectrum, said Chrissy Sadowski, Fund and Volunteer Coordinator for Autism Ontario’s South Region. “The idea of a song and its cover art bringing to life that of a child on the spectrum is truly amazing. We are so thankful for Casey and Wesley to choose Autism Ontario as a release platform. We are so excited to embrace such a beautiful song!”
Wesley shared this huge accomplishment with his classmates at St. Charles earlier this week. Treasures That We Find is available on Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, and all other major music streaming platforms.