Around the world, people are using their musical talents to make people smile — even while practicing social distancing to slow the spread of COVID-19.
When Justin saw the videos of quarantined people playing music from their balconies in Italy, he was inspired to make some music of his own. Justin was diagnosed on the autism spectrum when he was 3 years old. He struggled in school until about 8th grade, but then his hard work paid off and he was able to transition into mainstream classes.
He recently graduated from high school with honors… and has made the dean’s list 4 out of his 5 semesters in college so far. Quite an achievement!
Now Justin is self-isolating at home, like much of the rest of the world. “We’re all staying at home,” said his sister Alex. “Justin has voiced that he misses going to school, and even though he doesn’t talk to many people, he wishes he could be around other people besides his family.”
In an effort to share some love and light with the universe, Justin played his bass guitar on the porch of his home, much to the delight of his neighbors, we’re sure! Wanting to pass the kindness along to a larger audience, Autism Speaks shared the video, and soon it went viral.
Meet Justin: "Justin saw videos of people playing music on their porches posted from Italy and was inspired to play his bass on the porch. This is Justin’s good deed he’s throwing out into the universe. #KindnessCounts.We’re all staying at home. Justin has voiced that he misses going to school, and even though he doesn’t talk to many people, he wishes he could be around other people besides his family. Justin was diagnosed at three years old with autism. In fifth grade, he was in special needs classes. By 8th grade, he was in mainstream classes struggling to pass, high school he graduated with honors at a 3.5 GPA. Now he is finishing up his junior year at CSU in Los Angeles. He’s made the deans list 4 out of 5 semesters of his college career!" – Alex
Posted by Autism Speaks on Saturday, March 21, 2020
Justin is doing his part to show that the autism community cares deeply about making the world a kinder, more inclusive place for us all. And boy does this world need more kindness these days!
At the beginning of 2020, Autism Speaks kicked off a Year of Kindness. They’re inviting friends and neighbors around the world to make this year the Year of Kindness, and they need your help! Since April is World Autism Month, there’s no better time to get involved.
Their goal is simple — to perform 1 million acts of kindness.
Anyone can get involved by pledging a commitment to kindness on their website. You can also participate in this initiative in fun and meaningful ways like the ideas below.
1. Take the Kindness Counts Challenge!
Autism Speaks is asking social media users to get involved and show that #kindnesscounts.
- Write or film a kind and uplifting message to your followers on social media. There is no wrong way to be kind, make the challenge your own.
- Post it and tag @autismspeaks and three of your friends and nominate them to post kind messages of their own.
- Watch the kindness and positivity that you sparked, spread!
“The goal of the #KindnessCounts challenge is to make our online and offline worlds kinder and more inclusive and to increase acceptance of autistic people and their families. Any acts of kindness, big or small, can make an impact in the lives of others.”
2. Wear blue for kindness.
On April 2, celebrate World Autism Awareness Day by wearing blue and sharing it with #LightItUpBlue on social, tagging Autism Speaks. You can purchase cool gear and clothing from the Autism Speaks store. Wearing these fun T-shirts not only raises awareness for autism causes, but every dollar spent supports their mission to promote solutions for people with autism and their families.
Being an advocate for autism means working to protect the rights, services, and supports of people with autism.
4. Take a kindness break.
What better way to create connection and conversation than by sharing a virtual cup of kindness with your community? When you take a Kindness Break with Autism Speaks, you decide what goes in the cup and the format of your break and we all gain a world that’s more accepting and understanding.
If you choose to host a virtual Kindness Break, as soon as $25 is donated to your participant center, we will send a Kindness Kit filled with decorations, napkins, stickers and more!
When you raise $100 you get a special “Be Kind” Kindness Cup, just for you!
In these uncertain times, it’s more important than ever to practice kindness every day. There are so many ways to get started helping Autism Speaks reach their goal of 1 million acts of kindness!
Let’s all follow Justin’s lead and do what we can to inspire more acts of kindness during World Autism Month! Share this story to spread the word and take their kindness pledge today.
This article was sponsored by our friends at Autism Speaks.
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