Joel's Story

Diagnosed with Autism at the age of three has not slowed Joel down. He has persevered through all the hard work of being the best he can be. In 2009, Joel graduated from high school with his diploma in hand! Currently he is taking classes in college toward a degree in animation. His dream is to make child friendly movies and animated books teaching good character qualities. His dream was to have his art shown in New York City and Hollywood, and that came true in 2011!

 

 Joel's art has been seen in China, Japan,Africa, Australia, Canada, Peru, and across the USA.

 

Joel has a passion for sharing about Autism Awareness and How to be a Friend to kids and adults with special needs. His desire is to encourage and support kids with autism all over the world. The Autism Tree Project Foundation family has been a life changing catalyst for Joel since 2003.  With their support, Joel has spoken to thousands, from elementary school kids up through high school, universities and corporations like SDG&E Sempra Utilities. He has appeared on many news and radio stations and shared the stage with autism supporters Lorenzo Neal, James Lights Out Tony, Adrian Gonzalez, Kyle Negrete, Doug Flutie and many others. His art is published in several books and in a documentary film. He has many collectors across the United States.

 

In October 2010, Joel received the Inaugural International Naturally Autistic People Award for his Community Service. The ceremony was in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. There he met many wonderful new friends from around the world.  For the 2011 ANCA Awards Ceremony, Joel was honored to be one of the hosts, and represent the United States of America, he also sang, held an art workshop and displayed his art. In 2012, Joel is an International Ambassador for ANCA alongside Dr. Temple Grandin.

 

“The Medieval Trio Tales ~ Courage at the Concert” is a very special book Joel wrote and illustrated for children to share about How to Be a Friend and to stick up for someone in need. Kids of all ages love it.

 

In 2013, Joel was honored as Volunteer of the Decade for the Autism Tree Project Foundation and is also their  International Ambassador. Joel went with the autism team to China to teach staff and to be an encouragement for the children with special needs at an orphanage in Jiaozuo and Joel painted multiple murals. Joel also produced a social story and video called “I Can Fly” for Blue Horizons with Jet Blue, TSA Cares, and San Diego International Airport to help kids with autism to travel on an airplane. In April 2014, he had a successful art show called “Cirque De Artistes” at Ballast Point Gallery in San Diego.

 

In 2015,  Joel had the privilege of speaking at the Global Access Conference Thousand Oaks, CA./ interning at The Autism Channel World News studios in Florida/being a guest Presenter at Club Nokia in Los Angeles for the  Temple Grandin & Friends event for Autism Works Now and spending the summer working with cattle and horses at The Bar B Ranch & Livestock ranch  and doing public speaking across the state of Wyoming. That year was an exciting year of travel and being a keynote speaker for The Amity International Autism Conference along with Joni & Friends International, in Nanjing China.

 

February 2016, Joel completed his first animated short, 

“ How Germs Spread” for The African Water Projects. It is a fun and entertaining  animation to teach children how germs spread. It is already being seen by thousands across the continent of Africa. South Africa, Kenya, Togo, Malawi and more! His animation won 3rd Place in the Visual Arts Category for ANCA.

 

April was an exciting month and Joel was a guest speaker at Arizona Christian University, ATPF San Jose, USF Dons Baseball ATPF host .

 

Joel was a special guest of State Senator Joel Anderson of District 38 and he was presented on the Senate Floor and recognized for his community and international work for autism and art.

 

At late September, Joel is the presenter at the ATPF Ignite Every Child Luncheon at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, as well as a speaker at the 2016 West Coast TEACCH conference at the California Avenue School in Vista.

 

2017 was a great year. He created a program called Smile Bags. On the Smile Bags is the face of a kid with the word "Smile" in 27 different languages, and in those bags are art supplies and toys suitable for kids in need of a smile.

Around April, Joel created his five layer mixed media art for the Art and Advocacy Exhibit at the California Museum in Sacramento. This mixed media artwork he calls it "The Colors of My Mind" based on his original song that he wrote. "The Colors of My Mind" and "Time Travel" was chosen to be put on display at the Maria Shriver Gallery. He was a keynote speaker for the Disability Ministry Conference at Calvary Church in Santa Ana. He also got involved with another disability ministry group called Miracle 139 International who would later invite him to travel to Peru. He was also honored to have his paintings "Fire and Ice" on display at the H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III Cultural and Art Museum in Covina.

 

On August 2017, Joel traveled with Miracle 139 International to Peru. There he was a keynote speaker along with a translator and he's given away some Smile Bags in Lima, Cusco, Ollantaytambo, and Machu Picchu. Joel was happy to paint a mural for the children.

He later participated as a guest artist for Lights, Camera, Autism event courtesy of the Autism Society of America San Diego branch.

 

This year on 2018, he was one of the chosen artists for the Art of Autism iPad art program with Apple Inc and the Art of Autism. He also was a commissioned artist for the awards and a presenter for the ATPF 15 year Luncheon Event at Del Mar Fairgrounds on late April. 

 

In June, Joel was a featured artist for the Mainly Mozart Genius Weekend for which he painted his center piece called "MozArt". Joel enjoyed painting live the Mainly Mozart Genius Weekend welcoming reception at a luxurious house in Elfin Forest.

 

Joel is ready for excitement with new events including public speaking engagements and art shows in the future. Joel continues creating video production and art daily.

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