MassBay student, Nathan Persampieri of Newton, MA, is on a mission to educate the community about people with disabilities. Nathan is focused on what people with disabilities can accomplish, not what they cannot. “Although my physical disability has been a challenge, I’ve found ways to overcome it by helping others. By using my voice for other people who don’t have a voice, I have found my own way of overcoming my disability,” said Nathan.
“I’ve had to overcome many obstacles in my life, but one of the most painful is that I’ve had trouble making friends. When I was in high school, I felt ignored or invisible, and it made me mad and sad because I was lonely. However, instead of being upset, I turned my energy into doing something about it and put on an event at my high school called Beyond Kindness: Understanding our Differences. The goal of the event was to raise awareness of people with disabilities to break down our differences together,” said Nathan. This event at Newton North High School, which Nathan helped create, was held in collaboration with Newton-based, Understanding Our Differences organization, where Nathan volunteers. Nathan recently helped bring this same event to Newton South High School where Nathan moderated the panel discussion of the program.
Nathan, who graduated Newton North in June 2019, is now a second semester freshman at MassBay, studying Communication. Since coming to campus, he has joined the LEAD Leadership Program, has been elected as a senator for Student Government Associate (SGA), and is a member of the MassBay Accessibility Committee. Nathan continues to volunteer with Understanding Our Differences to help bring awareness and understanding that disability is part of diversity. Nathan has also helped bring the popular documentary, Intelligent Lives, to the Newton Public Library for a screening earlier this month. In December 2018, Nathan was awarded the Newton Human Rights Award for his “work organizing an event series to watch and discuss movies focusing on people with disabilities” at his church.
Nathan looks forward to continuing to educate the community about people with disabilities, as well as bringing more disability awareness programming to MassBay. His goals after earning his associate degree include transferring to a four-year university to continue his education in Communication, Marketing, or Sociology and earning his bachelor’s degree. Nathan emphasizes that his future will include making a positive difference in the disability community and helping others through community service. “I am interested in the way in which people interact and how social change is brought about.”
“I want people to know students with disabilities aren’t any different than other students. We want to make friends, join the same clubs, and be included. I love this work and I want to have an impact on people. I want to leave a legacy everywhere I go.”