In 2015, I graduated high school and was accepted into Millersville University.
By 2016, I was well into my second year of college, but I felt like there was something missing.
Finally, in 2017, I decided to join a sorority, and after a long week and some hard decisions, I found my home within Alpha Xi Delta.
Today is March 29th, 2019, and I can say with no hesitation that it is still the best decision I've made during my entire college career.
So what does that have to do with the headline on this post, you may ask?
Well here is my answer. I knew that when I chose to wear Alpha Xi Delta's letters across my chest that I was representing something bigger than just myself. I was representing MY entire chapter, and the women in it, I was representing ALL chapters, and the women in it, and last but not least, I was choosing to represent our philanthropy, Autism Speaks.
And as the headline states, I'm not ashamed to admit it. I'm definitely not scared to talk about it, either.
I took my recruitment process very seriously, and trust me, I did my research. When I would Google "Autism Speaks", I found a lot of negativity and resentment.
How could an organization that was supposed to support people with Autism get so much backlash?
As I looked deeper, I began to understand why people had all of these negative words to say, and I began to question my decision to support them. I was hesitant to ask for donations from my family and friends, I was hesitant to sit at a bake sale and tell people where their money would be going.
Looking back, I can understand why people had hesitations, and why they still have their hesitations today, because I would be lying if I said I never did.
In order to grow, we need to be able to accept change.
For the 2 years, I have been a sister of Alpha Xi Delta, I have seen this extraordinary change in Autism Speaks.
Today, Autism Speaks is dedicated to:
- Advancing research into causes and better treatments for autism spectrum disorder
- Increasing global understanding & acceptance of people with autism
- And working toward solutions for the needs of individuals with autism and their families across the spectrum and life span through advocacy and support
Autism Speaks understands the importance of realizing that every individual with autism is unique. They understand there is no "cure," and their main goal is to increase the understanding and acceptance of individuals, families, and communities affected by autism.
Today, 85 cents of every dollar Autism Speaks spends supports programs and services dedicated to advocacy and research so those affected by autism are better understood, have stronger support systems, and are celebrated as members of our communities.
Today, I will proudly wear my letters and ask for donations. I will proudly sit at a bake sale and tell people where their money is going. I will proudly attend the Autism Speaks Walk in April. I will proudly put on my resume that I was a part of an organization that supported Autism Speaks. And one day, I will proudly look back and say that all of my work and dedication was all for something great.
I support Autism Speaks, and I am not ashamed to admit it.