“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” – Winston Churchill
Last week as part of The College of New Jersey’s Spread The Word to End The Word Week I discussed my experiences growing up being called the word “retarded.” Spread The Word which started in 2009 is a national campaign asking for people to stop using the word retarded. As part of the event I had the director of my upcoming documentary based on my life on the autism spectrum come to film my speech at the event.
While we were at the event we decided to do something special for one of the student clubs hosting the event in TCNJ Best Buddies. TCNJ Best Buddies is a group that connects individuals on The College of New Jersey Campus with individuals in the Center for Communities Studies program together to form friendships. While the speeches were going on we talked with 6 members of their club (Lexi, Shandaya, Melanie, Kelsey, Matt and Rebecca) about their experiences within the program on camera. After the interviews were done we were blown away by the responses! A week later we had created a PSA Promo video for them to use for marketing and donating opportunities
I first heard about TCNJ Best Buddies when I was invited by a professor to speak at their school for Autism Awareness Week in 2014. During that time I met a few of their members and thought very highly of the group. Two people in particular made a lasting impact and I’ve wanted to do something special for them, along with the entire group to support something they enjoy. Earlier in their semester I gave a $500 dollar donation to the club to help them with their special events and gave 50% of the book proceeds from my last book Autism and Falling in Love to their national organization Best Buddies International.
Currently, TCNJ Best Buddies has 120 active members. I want to thank TCNJ Best Buddies and all of their members for having me come out to speak! For those reading this, after watching the PSA of them above, I hope you will consider helping support their organization in anyway you can by messaging them via their Facebook page at www.bit.ly/TCNJBestBuddies!