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Nonprofit CEO Helps Dreams Come True in the Autism Community

Updated: Apr 8

By Haiku Haughton


EXCEPTIONAL SPOTLIGHT For our first exceptional spotlight, we introduce Jeanetta Bryant, the CEO of Bright Feats Magazine and the driving force behind the non-profit organization, Abilities Workshop, as she shares her inspiring journey and commitment to fostering inclusivity. Join us in this illuminating interview with Jeanetta to understand what goes on behind the scenes to make her and others' goals and dreams come true.

 

How did your personal journey with your daughter's autism diagnosis and seeking support from other parents lead to the creation of your nonprofit?

Starting a nonprofit was the furthest thing from our minds when we embarked on a lifetime journey navigating an autism diagnosis and discovering hope. Unfortunately, our daughter was one of the many children who found themselves being told a bleak and purposeless prognosis. Somewhere in our souls, we knew that this challenge was one we would face head-on and find ways to defy the odds. Our daughter, Lindsey, would go on to inspire us in ways that we didn’t know were possible, all because we were willing to share our story and have other parents guide us to information and solutions.

 

How did your personal experience inspire your nonprofit's mission to share life-changing information and address root causes?

We found that information wasn’t just powerful; it was life changing. Knowing how to identify the root causes of symptomatic behavior catapulted us into a world of intrigue and hope. We found that common techniques, coupled with a guided plan, allowed our daughter and many other children to participate and communicate in ways we had been told were hopeless. Having experienced firsthand what finding proper resources could do for a child and a family, we knew it was not only our obligation but also our privilege to pay it forward.

 

How did seeing the meaningful friendships and positive impacts from your workshops shape your dedication to being an information resource hub?

Setting out to be an information resource hub can be daunting, overwhelming, and intimidating. Fortunately, God had a plan, and our responsibility was to simply show up and try to make a difference. The first time I realized how impactful our workshops were was when I witnessed true friendships being formed by parents who could recognize each other’s isolation and desperation. I knew those would be lasting relationships and that they would be meaningful when support is sometimes hard to find. Later, I would be told by families that the information they learned had impacted their child’s development in instrumental ways and led to them being able to dream for their child’s future again.

Understanding that there is no limit to a parent’s love and devotion is key. When parents roll up their sleeves and act, they often find answers. This sometimes leads to a child having remarkable gains, and sometimes it simply leads to better understanding. In either case, it elevates the pressure of the unknown. As it turns out, there really aren’t enough of us out here simply trying to be a friend without judgment or ridicule. The world, and this community particularly, could use more of us to step up and help calm the waters while leading others on paths we have forged.

 

How does the gratitude expressed by those your organization supports inspire your ongoing dedication, and what advice would you offer to those considering starting a nonprofit or volunteering based on your rewarding experiences?

Nearly every day, our office answers calls from parents, caregivers, and service providers looking to learn more; the thirst for knowledge is real. And when those phone calls unfold, the grateful spirit of that person is unmistakable—they suddenly know that they are not alone and that they have an ally in us. Those are the moments when all the work and tireless devotion pay off. It really is the simple gratitude and the feeling that, in this moment, we made someone’s life just a little easier that inspires us day after day.


For anyone considering starting a nonprofit or volunteering for an organization, I promise you will make a difference; you can feel the joy of knowing in a dark and broken world, people can still shine bright. I often joke that God gave me Lindsey to help teach me the virtue of patience, but she has done so much more than that; she has taught me perspective. The reality is that when you give your time to these kids in any fashion, they give back so much more, and for each of them, I am grateful.


For free resources on managing diagnoses, mobility, and accessibility support, self-advocacy, personal rights, educational rights, occupational therapy, mental health support, schools and camps, transitioning to adulthood, job opportunities, financial planning, supporting the family/caretakers, subscribe to Exceptional Needs Today. Subscribing to our award-winning e-magazine is free, and it enables us to connect with more readers, helping us support the special needs community more effectively. We publish a new issue every quarter - delivered straight to your email.


Phone: (407)-951-6117

 

Haiku Haughton is a University of Central Florida student obtaining a Bachelor of Arts degree in Writing & Rhetoric and a Certificate in Editing and Publishing. Born in Montego Bay, Jamaica, with an English teacher for a mother, Haiku was immersed in writing at a young age, and that same immersion continues today. Whenever his eyes aren't plastered to the monitor of his desktop, Haiku directs his time towards his other passions, which include archery, art design/analysis, nature walks, and reading books on various topics. Haiku serves Exceptional Needs Today as a Content Writer and Social Media Editor.

 

 

 

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