The positive domino effect that naturally occurs with pay it forward initiatives is something to be admired and reflected upon. If you’re new to the concept, then think of it as this: the receiver of a good deed repays it to others instead of to the original benefactor and asks their recipients to do the same. Meaning one good deed or act of kindness can have ripples felt far and wide beyond its starting point.
If you attended TEDxSydney last year, you might have been a part of our own Pay It Forward initiative with our charity partner, Settlement Services International (SSI). SSI is a leading community-based not-for-profit organisation that supports newcomers and other Australians to achieve their full potential. Our own ‘positive domino effect’ began as a way to give members an opportunity to give back to those that are often marginalised in our broader community. Members can either purchase a ticket for an SSI program participant or contribute a donation towards a ticket.
While we will once again be continuing our Pay It Forward initiative this year, we wanted to introduce you two incredible SSI program participants creating positive impact in their own communities – Haydn Payne and Thomas Kuzma.
Thomas Kuzma is as resilient as they come. Diagnosed with Autism at the age of 16, his advocacy for those on the spectrum seems to have never wavered. Whether he’s speaking at conferences, on panels or MCing an event, Thomas has become somewhat of a hero for Autism.
Thomas has been present on panels on SBS current affairs Insight program and ABC’s Triple-J radio, making him well positioned to mentor others and share his experiences and insights.
As a participant of SSI’s IgniteAbility® pilot program, established to facilitate business creation for people with a disability who want to establish a small business or expand an existing one, Thomas has recently founded TK Hubworld, an online platform designed to assist people on the Autism spectrum to better understand the neuro-typical world.
TK Hubworld taps into an activity more natural to those with autism; gaming. It offers content in a range of forms, including short videos, and promotes gaming as a safe space for people on the spectrum while still providing a social element where they can engage with others.
With the support of his IgniteAbility® facilitator, Mr Kuzma has been able to rationalise his business’ value proposition and has identified that gaming can provide a level of confidence and mastery that can be difficult for a person on the spectrum to experience in real life.
“TK Hubworld seeks to provide, through its creative content, a metaphorical bridge to meaningful participation in the real world through gaming,” he recently told SSI.
Hayden is a remarkable young, high achieving entrepreneur with personality to boot. After being ill-diagnosed with ADHD, he was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome at age 16 and since has been on a mission to break barriers and cope with his condition through his own set of resilience tactics.
Like Thomas, Haydn is also a particiipant of SSI’s IgniteAbility program and is currently developing his original ideas, into a robust body of knowledge, with practical application, for high functioning young adults on the Autism spectrum.
Hayden worked with Autism Step Australia. To develop his holistic approach to life skills for adolescents and young adults aged 14-30 on the Autism Spectrum and now, co-facilitates with the organisation. Between 2017 – 2018 he delivered and facilitated a project Spectrumite Group, a peer mentorship group model that creates a safe and inclusive environment for young adults on the spectrum.
Through IgniteAbility Hayden is developing a Podcast called Spectrumite. The Podcast deals with unique challenges facing adolescents and young adults on the spectrum in integrating into a mainstream social, workplace and relational environment so that they can maximise their potential and inclusion in the world structured not for them, but neurotypical people.
“My podcast aims to help ’sperg kids so that they can reach their full potential in a world structured not for them, but neurotypical people,” he recently told SSI.
Hayden intends to continue in the development of workable solutions, online content, peer group facilitation and supports, enabling young people on the spectrum, to more successfully navigate their adult lives.
To continue on our efforts with SSI and to make sure this positive domino effect doesn’t stop anytime soon, we are contributing 10 event admissions for TEDxSydney 2019. As mentioned above, we will be working with SSI to ensure the registrations are given to those who wouldn’t have been able to attend TEDxSydney without