Being Different is OK
The My Super Powers Foundation seeks to empower youth through service projects, fundraisers, and community events where they take charge and have hands on experiences. In 2022, we launched our youth speaker series: My Voice, My Power! Through this series, we give youth a platform to share their unique voices, gifts, and experiences with other youth.
The inaugural event was called Being Different Is Ok. At this event James, an 18-year-old young man with ASD and ADHD and Lucy, a 9-year old girl with hearing loss shared their experiences being “a little different.” They discussed the challenges they have faced and addressed common misconceptions about their conditions.
After each speaker a presentation, the audience had the opportunity to ask questions. Our goal was for there to be a dialogue between the speakers and the audience so that everyone could share and learn from each other in a safe environment. Both Lucy and James confidently responded to many difficult questions from both adults and youth attendees. Note that speaker had prior public speaking experience. In fact, up to that point, public speaking was something that James avoided.
While we expected that most questions would come from the youth in the audience, more questions came from adults. Many of the adults had children with ASD, ADHD, hearing loss, and had many questions about the speakers’ experiences.
We are planning the next My Voice, My Power! Event for the Spring of 2024. We are seeking 4-6 artists age (12-21), who express themselves through their visual art and would like to share their stories through an art exhibit.