WTOP Top Kid: Fairfax boy’s paper planes bring joy during pandemic

Zachary Holden has been busy during the pandemic, bringing smiles to his Fairfax neighbors. (Courtesy the Holden family)

There are few things better than bringing a smile to your neighbors’ faces during this tragic pandemic, and that’s what a 9-year-old boy in Fairfax County, Virginia, is doing.

Zachary Holden has been a busy kid.

Zachary Holden has given out a lot of paper airplanes in his Fairfax neighborhood. (Courtesy the Holden family)

He’s been giving away paper airplanes — hundreds of them — cleaning up his community, helping others with yard work and volunteering for school activities.

Holden started giving out paper planes because the coronavirus shut down his lemonade stand, and, “it’s something that kept me entertained during the virus,” he told WTOP’s Melissa Howell.

The paper airplanes gave his neighbors something to smile about.

“They were very happy. Because a lot of the people who came by were kids, and they really liked paper airplanes,” Holden said. “Instead of just having to think of something to do like watch TV, it kept them entertained outside.”

Holden’s reasoning behind the freebies is simple and pandemic-pragmatic: He said it was a nice thing to do and, if it cost money, people might have to get within 6 feet to pay.

Part of what helped generate excitement for the planes was a “commercial” his parents posted to Facebook showing off the planes for the neighborhood.

He’s also inspiring other kids in his neighborhood to contribute: They’re giving out free, homemade slime.

Holden doesn’t have plans for any new ventures yet because he’s in school, but that hasn’t stopped him from helping out there, too, by participating in meetings, greeting classmates, setting up for activities and helping get the activities ready — one of his favorites so far has been breaking open geodes.

Giving seems to simply be a part of Holden’s character.

“Helping is a good thing to do,” he said.

WTOP’s Melissa Howell contributed to this report.

This article is part of WTOP’s TOP Kids program, where kids in the D.C. area are recognized for the amazing things they do. The winners are awarded $500. The program is sponsored by Northwest Federal Credit Union. Nominate a TOP Kid you know here.

Will Vitka

William Vitka is a Digital Writer/Editor for WTOP.com. He's been in the news industry for over a decade. Before joining WTOP, he worked for CBS News, Stuff Magazine, The New York Post and wrote a variety of books—about a dozen of them, with more to come.

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