Hello. This is the report for my trip to Massachusetts on the dates of April 29, 2016 through May 4, 2016. The business actually took place on May 2 and 3, 2016.
|Alec Frazier with Jay Ruderman|
On Monday, May 2, 2016, I went to visit the Ruderman Family Foundation in Newton, Massachusetts. Specifically, my meeting was with Jay Ruderman, the leader of the foundation. The purpose of the meeting was to introduce him to my firm and my business outlook. I talked about some of the things I do, such as networking, public speaking, lobbying, peer advocacy, and other forms of advocacy. Mr. Ruderman then told me about what his foundation does. His foundation tries to promote diversity and inclusion in the United States and around the world, but specifically within the Jewish community. They fight for full or inclusion of the disabled in the workplace, policymaking, education, and elsewhere. The foundation also works with Israel significantly to promote peace, stability, and diversity in that country. Mr. Ruderman also introduced me to his family, including his wife and his sister. To him, the fact that he is running a family foundation means that each member of his family is very important. In the end, we agreed to be friends, and possibly work together. We also took photos together to promote our business relationship. It was a very good meeting, and an excellent introduction to one another.
The next day, Tuesday May 3, 2016, I went into Special Olympics Massachusetts in Marlborough, Massachusetts with Nick Savarese, their Vice President of Philanthropy. Nick and I go way back. When I was in seventh grade, he was the teacher’s aide who followed me from class to class, assisting me, and making sure that things stayed on track. Speaking of networking, it is absolutely incredible that we are still in touch today. Facebook has aided in those efforts, and Nick even hosted me in his home during my trip to Massachusetts.
|Nick Savarese with Alec Frazier at the Yawkey Sports Training Center|
Special Olympics Massachusetts is one of the only Special Olympics state level offices that has its own headquarters, the Yawkey Sports Training Center. I got the full tour, and the training center contains a gym, a weight and exercise room, tons of storage, a lobby with commemorative exhibits and plaques, conference rooms, offices, and more. There is also a neat statue outside of three athletes holding a torch aloft, and this statue is great for photo ops and announcements. Special Olympics Massachusetts owns their own building, and has the right to expand it if needed in the future.
|Alec Frazier Speaking to the Staff of Special Olympics Massachusetts|
In the morning, I gave a talk to the staff of Special Olympics Massachusetts. I talked about my history with Special Olympics, how I knew Nick, what my educational background is in, and the various pieces of advocacy work that I have done. There was a question-and-answer session too, and some of the answers I gave regarded my philosophy on identities, and where I wish to go from here. I mentioned that everyone there was doing extremely admirable work, and gave everyone my business card. We also showed my It Gets Better video, and I talked about making friends when you have disabilities, including social disabilities.
Afterwards, Nick and I met with Charles Hirsch, the Communications and Marketing Manager, and I recorded an interview for the Play Unified podcast that Special Olympics Massachusetts sometimes puts out. I talked about everything I had mentioned in the speech I had given to the staff, as well as talking about bullying and giving encouragement to disabled youth. I also talked about my book, and my move to the Maryland/Washington DC area this summer. They are also going to be putting a link to my It Gets Better video in the podcast, as well as links for my website, my Facebook pages, and Twitter. Afterwards, Nick and I went to lunch.
That afternoon, I was hanging out in the conference room when Megan Hoffman, the Director of Community Development came in. She started apologizing profusely, and also noted that I seemed good at making up speeches on the fly. I told her yes, that I had not even had a rough version of my earlier speech that day in my head. She said that was good, and that she needed to teleconference with a class at Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts. We got on Skype, and we both spoke to them. When I did my bit, I introduced myself, my experience with Special Olympics, and talked about the importance of internships. We finished shortly, and that was all the business for the trip.
|My Special Olympics Medals|
At the number of points during this report, I talk about the benefits of being in Special Olympics. There are a great many of them, but one stood out to me. I was a student who had a great deal of trouble making friends and hanging out with people in casual settings. Special Olympics made me feel a great sense of belonging. Going to those events together with people, staying in hotel rooms and playing video games with them, watching movies, and taking part in humongous statewide festivals with the rest of the athletes was absolutely amazing. It was something I really needed at that point in my life, and I am extremely proud to have been a Special Olympics athlete.
This blog posting is both the personal opinion of Alec Frazier, and the professional policy of his advocacy firm, Autistic Reality. If you oppose it, please screen grab it! We are very proud of this opinion!