By Lauryn Rosinski – Marketing and PR account coordinator 

When I read the job description for the marketing and PR account coordinator position at Dot Org Solutions, I knew it was the perfect fit for me. This was not because the office was located in the city of Akron, which is full of great food, culture and music – although that was a plus. It also was not because the business was owned and operated by smart, creative women – although that did not hurt, either.

What drew me to Dot Org Solutions was its mission to helping nonprofits grow and thrive through marketing and fundraising consulting.

Not only do I have a deep admiration, in general, for those who work in the nonprofit sector and commit their lives to making their communities, country and world a better place, I am personally motivated to promote, volunteer at and serve nonprofits that focus on missions I care about.

And that motivation comes from my younger brother.

There are three things you need to know about my brother: 1) He loves ketchup and any type of food you can dip in ketchup, 2) His favorite hobby is lounging in his pajamas and watching Disney movies and 3) Despite the fact that he was raised in the same environment and with the same parents as I was, his life journey has been completely different than mine.

When my brother was two years old, my parents noticed that he was exhibiting some atypical behaviors. He would rarely make eye contact. He did not like to be hugged or cuddled as much as other toddlers. He also frequently flapped his hands and rocked back and forth. After taking him to several behavioral therapists throughout the country, my brother was eventually diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.

According to Autism Speaks, autism refers to a “range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication, as well as by unique strengths and differences.” This basically means that no two people with autism are the same. Oftentimes in the media, people with autism are shown as people with savant syndrome, such as Raymond from Rain Man or Shaun Murphy from The Good Doctor. These portrayals, however, do not represent my brother.

My brother is considered to have low-functioning autism, which means he falls on the more severe side of the autism spectrum. He primarily communicates through the repetition of key words; however, he cannot hold up a conversation. He does, however, repeat certain motor functions, including swaying and persistent jumping. He also grunts and hollers in order to convey extreme emotions, from happiness to frustration. These behaviors, as you can imagine, not only impact my brother, but those around him.

My parents could not have done a better job raising a child with autism. They have guided him through every high and low, waited by his side through every doctor’s appointment, helped him overcome challenges and loved him unconditionally. They ensured he had a happy childhood and continue to contribute to his happiness and well-being as a 21 year old.

However, as anyone with a child on the autism spectrum knows, my parents still needed help from others. And, thanks to so many kind-hearted people, my parents and brother were able to receive that help.

Healthcare aids start out as complete strangers and turn into family members by putting my brother’s needs many times before their own. Teachers dedicated their resources, time and patience to making sure that he would receive an education and participate in his own special graduation ceremony. Even strangers would inspire through random acts of kindness by showing patience during my brother’s tantrums, exchanging thoughtful words to my mother or simply not staring when he flapped his hands or screeched in excitement at the grocery store.

Later in life, I began to learn about the nonprofits dedicated to assisting children and adults on the autism spectrum, from the local Autism Society of Greater Akron to the national Autism Speaks. I then realized that many individuals were like me and affected by autism in some way – and there were nonprofit employees, donors and volunteers willing to provide guidance and support services to those in similar situations as my brother and parents.

Following this moment, I discovered that not all of nonprofits are dedicated to people with autism or their family members. Still, they fascinated and motivated me. I saw that, whether a nonprofit’s focus was to empower women or to create a better educational community for children, they were still making a difference in someone’s lives – and that, to me, was incredible.

During my four years at Kent State University, I tried to serve as an advocate for the nonprofit community. I shared petitions on Facebook, donated when I could and volunteered a few times. Still, I realized at the time that this was not enough. I wanted to do more for the hardworking individuals out there, all of whom were trying to help other people’s brothers.

Then, several months after graduation, I learned about the job opening at Dot Org Solutions.

As the marketing and PR account coordinator for this small agency, I take on different tasks. However, the end goal of my job is to share the stories of and promote our clients, all of which have missions dedicated to serving others. Dot Org Solutions makes an impact by helping these clients – and I love what we do.

Although I am only 23 years old and still have a lot to learn about this crazy thing called life, I feel that I have found my true calling – and it’s all thanks to the experiences I would not have had if it was not for my brother.

I am forever grateful to him.