This guest post is by Benjamin Carter , a young man on the autism spectrum who was diagnosed with autism at 18 months and now has been accepted into Shepherds College where he’ll be majoring in horticulture. Benjamin is applying for the Spring 2020 Making a Difference Autism Scholarship via the nonprofit KFM Making a Difference started by me, Kerry Magro. I was nonverbal till 2.5 and diagnosed with autism at 4 and you can read more about my organization and how to apply for my scholarship here. I’m trying to make this nonprofit self-sufficient so I can make this my full-time job supporting the special needs community and could use your help. While many nonprofits have hundreds of volunteers fundraising for their nonprofit, I’m just one guy trying to make a big difference for people with autism via this program. With that I hope you will take a minute to consider making a donation to our scholarship fund here so we can keep it running moving forward (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!).
My name is Benjamin Carter. I am twenty five years old and strong and healthy. My father is so proud of me. I love animals from all continents, like osprey, winged flight birds like falcons and American eagles. I think I can fly when I put my body on a special water ski that I sit on. The water is happy when I fly on it and the water sprays to clap for me. The birds can see me flying with them. Flying is life.
When I was a boy, my lips were shut and no talking and my eyes were open. All mammals, like people were loud, loud, loud like big ocean waves. The loud ridiculous loud talking hurt my brain, my heart and my (ear) lobes. I held my ears all the time and was humming so I could think. The teachers in my school as a little boy were like king penguins, tall and big and their beaks were clacking and I held my ears and cried.
My body needs shhh…and my brain needs to think in a special way. My speech learning friend Marges loves me. She takes me to the therapy place and it is quiet there with animal friend stuffed animals and slides and swings for my body. I was watching Disney movies over and over to learn the bare necessities of life like Baloo the Bear. Marge helped me to tell people that I am talking, like Hakuna Matata means no worries for the rest of my days. Sometimes they misjudge me badly. My heart is warm and my words are stuck, but I am a friend, not an enemy.
For three months now, I am a professional student at Shepherds College in Union Grove, Wisconsin. I am respected and I respect others. The college experience is for me. I am learning about myself. I am learning about others and communication, how to make friends, care of money, soil, growing food for God’s creatures like lemurs. They eat leaves and I can grow food in the greenhouse so that their belly is full someday. A zoo job is my dream; cleaning, sweeping, and lots and lots of green leaves. The lemur will chew and chew. I am the lemur’s hero. A clean cage is courage. I am learning to do my own laundry at Shepherds College by myself, how to clean my fangs, how to shop for my food, how to ask a question, how to listen to others and how to work and rest. I worship God in chapel and sing, too at Shepherds College. I am a man now. I am not stupid. I am smarter and go to college. I love myself and others.
Shepherds College is for me. I am a Soaring Eagle and a man now. Please send some money so I can go to my college again next year. My major is horticulture. I will grow plants and fish in a aquaponic tank. This will be my dream come true. College is my dream come true. In three years, I will have a celebration for my graduation. My friends will hug me and my mom will cry again.
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. If you have a referral for someone who many want him to speak please reach out as well! Kerry speaks with schools, businesses, government agencies, colleges, nonprofit organizations, parent groups and other special events on topics ranging from employment, how to succeed in college with a learning disability, internal communication, living with autism, bullying prevention, social media best practices, innovation, presentation best practices and much more!
We’d also appreciate if you could take a minute to create a Facebook Fundraiser to support our nonprofit’s scholarship fund! You can learn more about how you can do just that here.