This guest post is by Rolland Shafer a young man on the autism spectrum who was accepted into the Harcum College. Rolland is applying for the Spring 2018 Making a Difference Autism Scholarship via the nonprofit KFM Making a Difference. You can read more about the organization and how to apply for our scholarship here. You can help our scholarship program continue to help these students by making a donation here (the majority of our scholarship program is ran through donors from our community such as yourself so no matter if you could donate anything, whether it be $5 anywhere up to $5,000 it would be making a difference!).

Sometimes I want to stay more focused with fiction rather then reality because it is hard for people to make up their minds about everything. In some cases it is hard for you to state your character and in my case I find it a little odd sometimes, in some cases a disciplinary issue or feeling like the odd kid out. Films I feel are one of the only socialization I have gotten, working at the movie theatre has provided me with a fresh new environment. It has opened up some creativity and allowed me to see things that hardly anyone else notices. Talking in a normal voice sometimes makes my tongue overlap, I have developed a British accent that clears my air ways and provides me with a good clean small bit of speech and defense depending on my mood. My accent can go from British to SS uniform that expresses my anger.

Moving from Tennessee I was not very social so my mom felt it would be a good idea for me to join Boy Scouts to help with my socialization, something that I was not able to do while in Tennessee. With a little bit of anxiety the only person I knew at the time was my cousin who now a days I deny/resent. Over time I began to make friends and was able to go on several trips that were enjoyable. I liked not being able to connect to technology, something that today’s world is very fixated on. Going on trips with Boy Scouts gives me something to do on my weekends with either good or bad weather either way it is nice to get away. Boy scouts has also taught me survival skills and the ability to share in common interests with other people. The woods provides me with a quite environment away from humanity itself, compared to a city that I feel is like a concrete jungle. It is hard to move around and for those who have small cases of claustrophobia it gets to the point where you are just ready to snap. To some rain is horrible but to me it is more relaxing.

I am still involved with Scouts at this age and am working on my Eagle certification. I have five more badges left that are in the works slowly and was given an extension to allow me to obtain the Eagle certification. I have three options of projects that I have in mind including a gaga pit (different form of dodge ball game), building bird houses or a community clean up. So far we are undecided and still thinking things through. In a sort of chain reaction one of the scout moms of troop 551 has provided me the opportunity to work at a haunted house in Bridgeport, PA. This is held Fridays and Saturdays in the month of October. In my first camping trip I had worked at a haunted house and just wanted to have that feel again. So, I signed up for it and they had everything from costumes, masks, makeup and the basement being a series of rooms all decorated in different themes. Having that feel again gave me a sort of confidence and good use of knowledge in between scaring people, breaks and meeting new people.

During that time outside of school and home I was looking for a job to get started with one of the people that was at the haunted house had a connection at the local movie theatre. By seeing how well I performed she gave the manager a call and provided a good recommendation that landed me with a job. Starting out with the applications at the beginning to mid-summer I applied to about 15 different places, worked on a small resume and did not hear back from any one. The 14th one provided a call back and before provided an interview they changed their mind and did not give me a chance. The 15th application was for the movie theatre in which I was provided an interview, which went alright and was given the job. In the 15 applications I had a feeling that I would actually enjoy this one and still kinda due today 7 months later.

-Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.- (2)

Kerry Magro, a professional speaker and best-selling author who is also on the autism spectrum started the nonprofit KFM Making a Difference in 2011 to help students with autism receive scholarship aid to pursue a post-secondary education. Help us continue to help students with autism go to college by making a tax-deductible donation to our nonprofit here. Also, consider having Kerry, one of the only professionally accredited speakers on the spectrum in the country, speak at your next event by sending him an inquiry here.

We’d also appreciate if you could start a Facebook Fundraiser to support our nonprofit’s scholarship fund! You can learn more about how you can do just that here