Thurstin is a young photographer of 14 who is asking people with a passion for the arts to spend $10 to help him get to Canada. Thurstin has Aspergers Syndrome, an autism spectrum condition. He has been selected to represent youth arts and the Australian autism community in Canada for an autism forum/gala. Have you got ten dollars?
I am writing to say thank you for your very generous donation to my pozible campaign. I have been very humbled by all of the support I have been receiving by the community on various levels since beginning the campaign. I had no idea community could be so supportive.
Getting 1400 people to donate $10 each is much harder than I had thought, it is still early in the process.
I still see myself as a kid with a camera and my only real talent isn't a talent but an observant nature. I see all the beauty and wonder in nature. I merely capture that, that which is already beautiful in the world.
My photos are beautiful or the like because the subjects are beautiful. It is nature, our planet, a place we destroy too easily when we should be nurturing, loving, protecting and absorbing every spectacular wonder of science and beyond.
Each step of recognition has been simply amazing. I was a finalist last year in the W.A. youth awards as an environmental finalist rather than arts. I was taking photos to draw attention to the local ecology around the area where we lived. I was struck by the excessive rubbish in the ocean, whilst working at the environment centre there a turtle died from swallowing plastic.
I spent many hours cleaning the beaches to stop this happening to more animals and educated people along the way. At the youth awards there were some of the most inspiring and passionate people I have ever met. These young people were doing so much within their communities, I felt completely humbled, inspired and so much more. When some of these people were congratulating me and speaking highly of the work I had done I was blown away.
It really inspired me to do more for the things I care about, one of these things is Autism/Aspergers.
My early years were so very difficult and painful. Elements of Aspergers are very difficult to manage. Sometimes even debilitating. Because Aspergers is neurological you do not grow out of it, it does not go away or get cured. You learn to manage better and in some cases the brain rewires itself to adjust neurological dysfunction.
One of the amazing things about going to Canada is sharing my story of how life went from being quite traumatic and difficult to being quite amazing. How I overcame many of the issues I had through being supported, understood and encouraged. That despite having various challenges with every day life Aspergers is not a disability to me but something that merely means i experience the world differently.
There is a lot of young people who have the same experiences I have had and I like that I have the chance to give them hope.
Yesterday I received a reply from a father who had been kind enough to support me. I had written to thank him. His reply was one of the moments of life that makes it all worth it. He said he had an 8 year old son who has Autism and he was glad his son could have role models like myself. Which is such a beautiful thing for another to say.
Inclusion is something lots of children with Aspergers do not experience.
It's lonely, the classroom almost as isolating as the playground, missing all the social information that is so easy for most other people. This year is the first year I have not felt exclusion. I am just a regular kid mostly that happens to have Aspergers syndrome. If I knew somebody like myself at any age between 5 and 11 I would have been so happy. To see a person with Aspergers just being themselves and being accepted.
I would also have to say being 14 and having the chance to go overseas is very exciting.
I think however the greatest achievement of going to Canada is to bring to the international platform some of the amazing things being achieved in Australia not just in Autism but youth arts. I am not especially patriotic but I am proud to represent these communities of the country I live in. And most of all I know I would do these communities proud whilst there.
In the pozible process I have learnt a lot in the first two weeks. I have learned mostly about how amazing my community is and how wonderful it feels to have people you know, and strangers, believe in you and want to see something amazing happen for you.
If I do or do not get to Canada, this experience has been wonderful and I am so very very grateful.
Thank you again. Thurstin
"Two of the very beautiful wonders of the world. My sister Mayanna and a monarch butterfly." by Thurstin Lakerink
Let's get Thurstin to Canada - http://www.pozible.com/project/26931