Autism Awareness Month: Butler Co. girl with big dreams beats odds, helps community

TOWANDA, Kan. (KAKE) -

Eight-year-old Angelica has big dreams, one of them to help her community through a trash pickup she created, the other, becoming a crocodile hunter.

"That make me so proud and I smile,” Angelica stated.

She even has her own YouTube Channel where she talks about different animals.

"I say, 'Welcome to Angelica's Adventures!" she smiled.

She was non-verbal for years, a reason her parents knew she was autistic at young age. But rather than wait for a miracle to happen, they took action.

"At the beginning it's hard,” said her father Scott Lauber. “It's hard to say, ‘Yes, my daughter or son has a problem with autism or has any special needs,’ and you need to say, ‘My daughter or son has special needs,’ and we need to address that. And you just need to get the help that you can, and we've gotten great help."

Seeing her progress, they couldn't be prouder.

"She is so wonderful,’ said her mom Cristin Lauber. “She literally is the most caring human being out there I feel."

Autism affects more than 200,000 people in the U.S. every year.  it's a condition that sometimes causes developmental delay and impairs someone's ability to communicate.

Angelica has also started this lending library at Gambino’s Pizza and illustrates her own books to sell in hopes of raising enough money to make it to the Australia Zoo.

Her efforts earned her the city's outstanding citizenship award.

"She just has such a big heart for animals and people alike, and she's just a light to everyone around her,” said Gambino's manager Brooke Cain.

But for the girl with big dreams, it's just the beginning as she continues to beat the odds.

If you'd like to help send Angelica to the Australia Zoo, you can donate to her GoFundMe.