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A 9-year-old just perfectly broke down what living with autism is like for him.

A 9-year-old just perfectly broke down what living with autism is like for him.

George Yionoulis is pretty much your typical 9-year-old.

The fourth-grader from Raleigh, North Carolina, loves "Harry Potter," making art, and eating tacos.

Oh, and he loooooooves dancing. The kid has some serious moves.


While it's pretty easy to understand why George loves tacos (who doesn't?), there are some things George does that aren't quite as easy for people to understand. That's because when was 2 years old, his parents discovered has an autism spectrum disorder.

George's autism makes it harder for his classmates at Douglas Elementary School to relate to him. So he used a class project to help them understand him a little better.

George wrote, narrated, edited, and produced a video called "My Autism" and even created an original score to accompany the six-minute clip.

"Hi, everybody. My name is George," George begins his voiceover as text reading "GEORGE ... and AUTISM" flashes across the screen before cutting to footage of George dancing.

"Let me tell you a little about myself," he continues. "I have fun dancing, I have fun making music, I love to draw and make art, and ... wait for it ... I have this thing called autism."

In the video, George shares some of his unique quirks — things he knows his classmates have noticed about him but maybe haven't had the courage to ask about.

Like the fact that he has trouble making eye contact with people when they speak to him, though he says he's gotten better about it. "I might not have been looking, but that didn't mean I wasn't listening," he explains.

"Speaking of listening," he continues. "I can hear and see a lot of things and sounds all at the same time, which sometimes makes it hard to focus on any one sound or thought. That's why it might take a little more time to answer you when you ask a question."

He also has trouble with metaphors and figures of speech, which is common for kids with autism, and advises his classmates to be as literal and clear with him as possible.

"If you say 'take a seat,' you might find one less chair in your classroom," he jokes.

George also opens up about some of the challenges he faces and hopes the video will help his friends understand why he sometimes gets angry, cries, or yells."

I sometimes get frustrated when I get interrupted or when something doesn't go as planned," he admits. "Or when something unexpected happens. Or when I make a mistake."

In a courageous peek behind the curtain, George even includes video of himself — at a much younger age — throwing a tantrum at a book reading as well as audio of himself stumbling with his words while recording the narration for the video and becoming audibly frustrated. "But I messed up!" he cries.

"(Some of those) are just kid things to get frustrated about, and I'm a kid just like you," he says. "All us kids are different in our own ways, right?"

At the end, George asks his classmates to come talk to him, ask him questions, or invite him to play — even if it seems like he might not want to.

"I like having fun, just like you. So if you ever see me playing by myself, it doesn't necessarily mean I don't want to play with you, too," he tells them. "I always want to play with you."

His heartwarming honesty and larger-than-life on-screen personality are so compelling, it's no wonder the video has gone viral. Shortly after the video went up on YouTube and Facebook, it racked up tens of thousands of views and hundreds of comments.

Initially, it was only meant for George's 21 elementary school classmates.

"The feedback we're getting is, 'I showed this to my 6-year-old who has autism, I showed this to my 12-year-old who has autism,' and they're going, 'Me too, and we could be friends!'" his mother, Lisa Jolley told Raleigh-Durham's WTVD/ABC11.

In a world where people with autism aren't often given the chance to speak for themselves, it's both really cool and really significant that George has taken control of his own life story and experience and is sharing them in his own words. At only 9 years old, he's already making huge strides in helping the world better understand a condition that affects about 1 in 68 kids in the United States.

Watch the full video below, and you'll probably learn something new yourself.

At the very least, you're bound to fall in love with this charming and courageous kid.

George's journey with autism at 9 years old. This is the video he shared with his fourth grade class to help them understand why he behaves the way he does...

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Do you ever feel like you could be doing more when it comes to making a positive impact on your community? The messaging around giving back is louder than ever this time of year, and for good reason; It is the season of giving, after all.

If you’ve ever wondered who is responsible for bringing many of the giving-back initiatives to life, it’s probably not who you’d expect. The masterminds behind these types of campaigns are project managers.

Using their talents and skills, often proven by earning certifications from the Project Management Institute (PMI), project managers are driving real change and increasing the success rate on projects that truly improve our world.

To celebrate the work that project managers are doing behind the scenes to make a difference, we spoke with two people doing more than their part to make an impact.

In his current role as a Project Management Professional (PMP)-certified project manager and environmental engineer for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Joshua Williard oversees the cleanup of some of America’s most contaminated and hazardous waste sites.

Courtesy of Joshua Williard

“Recently, I was part of a four-person diving team sent to collect contaminated sediment samples from the bottom of a river in Southeastern Virginia. We wanted to ensure a containment wall was successfully blocking the release of waste into an adjacent river,” Williard says.

Through his work, Josh drives restoration efforts to completion so contaminated land can again be used beneficially, and so future generations will not be at risk of exposure to harmful chemicals.

“I’ve been inspired by the natural world from a young age and always loved being outside. As I gained an understanding about Earth's trajectory, I realized that I wanted to be part of trying to save it and keep it for future generations.

“I learned the importance of using different management styles to address various project challenges. I saw the value in building meaningful relationships with key community members. I came to see that effective project management can make a real difference in getting things done and having on-the-ground impact,” Williard says.

In addition, Monica Chan’s career in project management has enabled her to work at the forefront of conservation efforts with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF-US). She most recently has been managing a climate change project, working with a diverse team including scientists, policy experts, data analysts, biologists, communicators, and more. The goal is to leverage grants to protect and restore mangroves, forests, and ecosystems, and drive demand in seaweed farming – all to harness nature's power to address the climate crisis.

Courtesy of Monica Chan

“As the project management lead for WWF-US, I am collaborating across the organization to build a project management framework that adapts to our diverse projects. Given that WWF's overarching objectives center on conserving nature and addressing imminent threats to the diversity of life on Earth, the stakes are exceptionally high in how we approach projects,” says Chan.

“Throughout my journey, I've discovered a deep passion for project management's ability to unite people for shared goals, contributing meaningfully to environmental conservation,” she says.

With skills learned from on-the-job experience and resources from PMI, project managers are the central point of connection for social impact campaigns, driving them forward and solving problems along the way. They are integral to bringing these projects to life, and they find support from their peers in PMI’s community.

PMI has a global network of more than 300 chapters and serves as a community for project managers – at every stage of their career. Members can share knowledge, celebrate impact, and learn together through resources, events, and other programs such as PMI’s Hours for Impact program, which encourages PMI members to volunteer their time to projects directly supporting the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

“By tapping into PMI's extensive network and resources, I've expanded my project management knowledge and skills, gaining insights from seasoned professionals in diverse industries, including environmental management. Exposure to different perspectives has kept me informed about industry trends, best practices, and allowed me to tailor my approach to the unique challenges of the non-profit sector,” Chan says.

“Obtaining my PMP certification has been a game-changer, propelling not only my career growth, but also reshaping my approach to daily projects, both personally and professionally,” Chan says. Research from PMI shows that a career in project management means being part of an industry on the rise, as the global economy will need 25 million new project professionals by 2030 and the median salary for project practitioners in the U.S. is $120K.

PMI’s mission is to help professionals build project management skills through online courses, networking, and other learning opportunities, help them prove their proficiency in project management through certifications, and champion the work that project professionals, like Joshua and Monica, do around the world.

For those interested in pursuing a career in project management to help make a difference, PMI’s Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) certification could be the starting point to help get your foot in the door.

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