“I wouldn’t change a thing about me. I don’t want to be anyone else. I am CJ. I am different. I am unique.”
CJ is a charming, intelligent and determined man that, like anyone in their 20s, is beginning to find his place and purpose in the community. And he believes his gift is to share his knowledge with others.
“I want people to know that I have a photographic memory. I can memorize people, pages and facts,” he expressed. “I know about sports, cartoons, movies, music, geography and I have memorized the whole Bible.”
“Every day I learn something,” he said. “It is very important for me to share my information with others because I can’t even keep the information in my brain! I want others to learn from me and I want to be a positive influence on others. I also want to have a positive attitude when I am with others.”
CJ discovered his talent and thirst for knowledge when he was eight years old. He moved from Wisconsin to Cuyahoga Falls in the first grade and noticed that he started to be picked first for every academic team.
“It made me feel really good to be a part of my class and my school,” he shared. “I love learning and listening to other people’s opinions, and I have learned to be respectful of those opinions.”
When asked about inclusion, CJ took a pause, but profoundly expressed that it’s all about being welcomed in the community.
“I have felt excluded, and I used to be excluded, especially when I am new (to a group of people),” he reflected. “I will not be insulted or hurt and I will stand my ground.” But he has learned how to adjust to new people and places. “I learned that if I want friends and to feel comfortable with the people around me, I must first be a friend.”
“Inclusion means to me that I have a voice and that my voice is heard,” CJ stated. “It is also the ability to speak my mind and share what is important to me with others.”
He prides himself on trying new things, being a hard worker, finding ways to relate to people, being honest, never giving up and always striving to be the best person he can be.
“My goal for the future is to continue to have a positive attitude,” he shared. “Another goal is to be more respectful of other people and not to have people say negative things about me.”
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