Dreamzilla Inc., a San Jose-based nonprofit devoted to celebrating neurodiversity, introduced its first-ever scholarship recipients.
Brittany Duncan of Huntersville, NC, Julianne Lukassen of Cheyenne, WY, Austin Riley of Ontario, Canada and Serafino Palumbo of Girard, OH all obtained funding from Dreamzilla to assist in pursuing their instructional targets. The winners have a wide range of neurological variations equivalent to autism and ADHD.
“Scholarship candidates have to be neurodivergent,” stated Ken Loh, co-founder and treasurer/secretary of Dreamzilla. “They should have some type of private or skilled aspiration that they’re pursuing, but have a monetary barrier to beat.”
Dreamzilla Inc. was co-founded in January 2022 by CEO Kyle Loh, a race automotive driver with autism and ADHD.
“We felt that there have been most likely many different neurodivergent people who actually needed to comply with their passions,” stated Ken Loh, who’s Kyle’s dad, “however for no matter purpose they weren’t capable of. We suspected that misconceptions and stigmas might play roles in stopping different neurodivergent people from having the ability to pursue their desires.”
“Neurodiversity” is a framework that refers back to the vary of variations in particular person mind operate and behavioral traits which can be considered a part of regular variation within the human inhabitants. It could embody autism, ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia and Tourette syndrome, amongst others.
In response to Harvard Medical College, neurodiversity additionally posits that folks expertise and work together with the world round them in some ways, and that there isn’t any one “proper” mind-set, studying and behaving. Variations usually are not seen as deficits.
“As an individual with autism, routines come naturally to me,” says Kyle Loh. “I actually see my situation as an asset which helps me keep laser-focused behind the wheel.”
Dreamzilla’s scholarship winners have neurodivergences equivalent to ADHD, narcolepsy and autism. Every recipient’s journey highlights the potential throughout the neurodivergent neighborhood and the significance of offering tailor-made help for them to attain their targets.
“We presently publish a spread of $500-$5,000 for our scholarship awards, however our coverage states there isn’t any most or minimal,” stated Ken Loh. “Our objective is to award primarily based on want, however since we’re simply beginning out, now we have been awarding within the $1,000 vary. We hope to begin growing once we are capable of carry extra donations and company partnerships on board.”
“By means of these scholarships, we hope to amplify the unimaginable abilities throughout the neurodivergent neighborhood and exhibit the broader societal advantages of embracing neurodiversity,” stated Kyle Loh.
“Every recipient showcases the significance of fostering an setting the place neurodivergent people are valued for his or her distinctive contributions,” stated Ken Loh. “We’re immensely proud to help their journeys and look ahead to witnessing the constructive affect they’ll undoubtedly make of their respective fields and communities.”
Duncan is a mom of 4 and the director of human sources at an environmental companies firm. She is a presently scholar at Strayer College, the place she research enterprise administration and human sources administration.
“Taking lessons on-line has allowed me to tackle what I can, which is necessary to me so I don’t overload myself,” stated Duncan.
Unemployment for neurodivergent adults runs as excessive as 30%-40% which is 3 times the speed for folks with incapacity and eight occasions the speed for folks with out incapacity, in line with the Werth Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation on the College of Connecticut.
Actual figures are unknown, in line with the Werth Institute, as a result of few sources monitor the specifics of unemployment amongst a variety of neurodiversity—not simply autism but additionally ADHD, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia and different neurological variations.
Organizations have begun recognizing the worth of hiring neurodivergent people, in line with the Werth Institute. Neurodivergent folks’s capability to method issues in a different way and convey modern options and concepts to the desk creates actual worth.
“These scholarships are extra than simply monetary support,” stated Ken Loh. “They’re a celebration of the unimaginable achievements and potential of neurodivergent people.”