My name is Tyler Brown. I have a form of Autism called Asperger’s. I’m high functioning which affects the way I perceive and read social situations. Growing up, I had difficulty making friends. No matter what I did, I could not fit in. Lunchtime was hard. For years no one would sit with me or they would move once I sat at their table. In elementary school, I only had two kids I called friends.
Today not much has changed. I am in 8th grade, still don’t have any friends and I still am called weird. I tell you this not to feel sorry for me, but to show you what it’s like for a child with a disorder. However, I am one of the lucky ones. Lucky because from 2nd grade on, I have had access to the BGCNC. If it was not for them, I would not have any kids that talk to me; my socializing would be minimal at best.
When I first came to the BGC, I was very nervous. I was shown around the Club by a staff member and was introduced to a bunch of new kids. These were kids from surrounding towns who did not know me; they had no preconceived ideas of who I was. I had a chance for them to like me. Staff at the BGC played games with us and modeled behaviors for all of us to learn from. The BGC teaches teamwork, friendship and unity as one. We’re taught community matters, but most of all we’re taught no one person is better than the other. This positive environment has taught me so much; it also has given me the confidence to be me. I have learned how to make friends and I have learned how to give back to the younger Club members and my community.
I plan to continue giving back what I have received from the BGC; not only as a staff volunteer, but as an honest, caring, vocal supporter. The BGC teaches acceptance, compassion, teamwork, and life skills to kids that might never have access to these invaluable skills. I hope you see just how important this Club has been to me and to the other kids in our community.