Meet Jack Mayor, an enthusiastic Best Buddies Ambassador, who - thanks to training and opportunities that he's found through Best Buddies - is now a very captivating public speaker. Jack travels all over the United States sharing his story about living with Autism, talking about how Josie - who was the President of Jack's high school chapter of Best Buddies - formed a friendship that helped to change his life, and emphasizing the importance of the work that this organization does for kids around the world.
In the words of Jack from the Best Buddies Nashville Gala 2018: "Best Buddies took my worst days and made them my best."
Below, Jack shares a bit more of his story with us, including what he loves most about Best Buddies, what it's like being on the Best Buddies Board of Directors and one things he would like the world to know about people who have Autism.
MTEAM: Tell us a little bit about yourself!
JACK MAYOR: My Name is Jack Mayor. I am 18-years-old. I am from Naperville, Illinois. I like to go on the computer and go on Google Maps. I love to drink coffee. One of my favorite sports to do is swimming.
MTEAM: When and how did you become an ambassador for Best Buddies?
JM: I was formally asked after giving a speech during my Sophomore year at my high school to become an ambassador for Best Buddies. I officially became a Best Buddies Ambassador after going through training in November 2016.
MTEAM: What are some of the coolest things you get to do as an ambassador for Best Buddies?
JM: I think one of the coolest things that I get to do as an Ambassador for Best Buddies is speak around the country and meet new people. I have made really good friends through Best Buddies.
MTEAM: What do you love most about the Best Buddies? How have they helped to support you?
JM: I mostly love Best Buddies because everyone in this organization treats each other, including myself, like family. Best Buddies has supported me by encouraging me to pursue my speaking career.
MTEAM: What made you decide to pursue a career in public speaking? How have your skills progressed over the years and what role has Best Buddies played in this?
JM: At my first Leadership Conference, Best Buddies taught me to be a public speaker. The skills that I left there with have been life-changing for me. Best Buddies continues to provide training throughout the year to help me advance my speaking skills.
MTEAM: You were recently chosen to join the Best Buddies Board of Directors. Tell us a bit about what this involves.
JM: I have the opportunity to see how the company works at all levels from the Friendship program to the Jobs program. I am excited that my opinions about this organization will not only be heard, but hopefully can help further our mission and goals.
MTEAM: Have you met anyone through Best Buddies who really inspires you? Who and how so?
JM: The person that I have met and formed a friendship with is Matt Sousa. He is the State Director for PA. We bonded immediately, he gets me, and I love that he jokes with me and makes me laugh.
MTEAM: One of your goals is to educate the public about what it’s like to grow up and live with autism. For people who have never encountered anyone who has autism before, what would you most like them to know?
JM: I would like them to know that they need to have patience. Autism is really hard on me, and I oftentimes get overwhelmed and easily frustrated. Having someone who is patient with me, and all of my quirks, helps me out a lot.
MTEAM: Do you have a favorite memory from your time with Best Buddies?
JM: My favorite memory in my time with Best Buddies was the 2017 Miami Gala, because it was such a great honor to be able to speak in the headquarters of this outstanding organization.
MTEAM: What would you say to someone who was considering about supporting Best Buddies or joining a Best Buddies Challenge community like the MTeam, but not sure whether to go ahead?
JM: I would tell someone who is interested in supporting Best Buddies that if you care about making positive changes in special people’s lives, then Best Buddies is an organization that you should get involved with. I would also tell them that Best Buddies has a proven track record of taking their resources and making better lives for so many others.