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Zachary is dedicated to helping neurodiverse people like him find their place in the Jewish community.
Zachary, who has autism, has always believed in the importance of showing up. He makes the rounds on the speaking circuit, educating others about how to be more inclusive and supportive. And he believes in demonstrating to others that neurodiverse people have a place at social gatherings. He frequents events for JUF and Encompass, Mishkan Chicago, Moishe House, and Makom; he attended camp at OSRUI; and traveled to Israel on Birthright. He has also been an active member of Temple Sholom for 25 years and is a top fundraiser and junior board member for Keshet.
In addition to being named a 2019 State of Illinois Volunteer of the Week, Zachary continues to give back in a variety of ways. One of his favorite ways to give back is through the DemonTHON, the DePaul University dance marathon, that raises money for Robert and Ann H. Lurie Children's Hospital in Chicago. For seven years, Zachary has volunteered for the event, raising thousands of dollars through his participation and recruitment of others.
Zachary is also a comedy fan--and loves to perform improv at Second City.
I am a Best Buddies State Ambassador where I give speeches to advocate for people with neurodiversity and increase the visibility of Best Buddies services to the public. I am scheduled to speak to several groups in Illinois. My responsibility is to develop and write content to include my personal narrative and experiences. Hopefully, as I complete this responsibility, I will await nomination to be a Best Buddies Global Ambassador, which will provide opportunities for speaking about these issues in multiple countries. In addition, I am participating in the Best Buddies Job Training program, which will lead to job placement.
ON THE SIDE:
I have been invited to be a neurodiversity model patient for patient interviews at the program at UIC. I will be interviewed by doctors, nurses, and paramedical personnel to give them an opportunity to learn how to interview individuals with neurodiversity. I work for my parents who are physicians as an office administrator, with duties including document management, supporting employer tax information by completing and organizing 1099 forms, and managing case files including electronic record keeping through Microsoft Excel and Google sheets, as well as physical record keeping through paper filing.
DESCRIBE YOURSELF IN 10 WORDS OR LESS:
Autism has made me tenacious in achieving success in life.
Elon Musk has autism. He has changed the world. He exemplifies how incredible creativity and brainpower can make someone so productive and successful. His vision and ingenuity led him to start Tesla and many other companies.
YOUR BEST PIECE OF ADVICE:
My best piece of advice is that people like me who are neurodiverse can have much to contribute to the Jewish community. Inclusivity and acceptance benefit everyone.
IF TIME AND MONEY WERE LIMITLESS, I WOULD:
If time and money were limitless, I would work for the Vail Adaptive program teaching skiers who have disabilities how to ski, as I am an experienced skier. I would live in Vail. I would travel internationally to see the world, especially Israel. I would try to get a job at Apple, as I very much enjoy using Apple devices.