Last year we started a foundation, making an initial investment of $100,000 and pledging to support “Scholarships for Real Life,” a program to enable people to pursue a dream of their own while also addressing a problem that affects others.
In this short series, we’ll highlight our initial grantees.
“My life sometimes has been a living hell because I have ADHD—mostly because people don’t understand me. They think I’m bad, but I’m not. They think I’m stupid, but I’m not. They think I’m going to be a failure and I’m going to prove them wrong.”
These words, written by 14-year-old Jeff Rasmussen, are more than just a bold statement. It only takes talking to Jeff for a few minutes to realize they are a promise.
At only 14, Jeff is already a WDS veteran, having attended for the past two years. Since he was four years old, Jeff has had to endure bullying and judgement from his fellow students, and even teachers, because of his ADHD. Jeff is passionate about helping other kids suffering from ADHD to avoid similar bullying, as well as educating those who work with ADHD about the condition and how they can work with those individuals.
Where the Money Goes
Jeff’s Scholarships for Real Life project is called “ADHD Kids Rock.” The initial goal with the WDS grant is to build an online community website that allows kids with ADHD to share their stories, and share best practices around what works and doesn’t work for them. Ultimately, the site will expand to include stories from parents, teachers and others on what they’ve learned from interacting, teaching and raising ADHD kids. Additionally,
Jeff will also use funds from the grant to attend a national conference on ADHD to spread the message of his site and gather more resources to share with the online community.
As part of the Scholarships For Real Life program, Jeff will also be working with a mentor who will help oversee the project’s progress and provide critical guidance. Fortunately, Jeff has found a kindred spirit in his mentor, Ryan McRae.
Ryan is a fellow WDS alumnus, as well as a gifted speaker and writer—two skills Jeff would like to develop as part of his project work. Ryan enthusiastically agreed to join ADHD Kids Rock as lead mentor and is already assisting Jeff in establishing a mailing list and a voice for the ADHD Kids Rock website. Additionally, Jeff’s mom Beverlee, is enthusiastically serving as project manager to keep the project on track.
In the next few months, Jeff will concentrate on the buildout of the website, generating interest for the platform, as well as attend the International Conference On ADHD in October.
Follow Along or Get Involved!
ADHD Kids Rock is currently recruiting a web developer and designer to help build out the key features of the beta site. Additionally, you can register to receive updates. You can also connect with Jeff on Twitter @jeffrasmus.
Most importantly, if you are a student with an ADHD story to share, they want to hear from you!