D.J. Svoboda is an artist and motivational speaker who lives in Cary. He created The Imagifriends of Imagiville based on experiences he faced as he grew up with autism. In honor of National Bullying Prevention Month, we’ve asked D.J. to tell us about his creations and motivation.
Why did you create Imagiville and The Imagifriends?
I Created The Imagifriends and Imagiville because it is all based on the Challenges that I have faced growing up with Autism and Disabilities. There were times when I was Bullied and Made Fun of and called Bad Names and Teased a lot. During those times it was quite challenging and it did also hurt a lot. But out of all these Challenges I was inspired and got The Idea to Create The Imagifriends of Imagiville. I even had some Friends with Autism that were also being Bullied too, I felt that it was just not right! Imagiville is where everyone is accepted and welcomed for who they are. There is Never any Bullying or teasing or being Made fun of in Imagiville because….. BULLYING IS NEVER OKAY AND IT IS NOT ACCEPTABLE!!
What is the main mission of The Imagifriends?
The Main Mission of The Imagifriends is to Prove and to show The Whole Entire World that all those with Autism and Disabilities and Special Needs are very, very Special and Wonderful and Amazing People too! That they too can make a Great and Amazing and Very Powerful Difference in this World and that they can use their Gifts and Talents to make this World an even Better Place for Everyone and that they too have a Great and Amazing and Very Awesome Place in this World. Also another Great Part of the Mission is to show how Important it is to Accept others for who they are and that we can all make the World an even better place by working Together as a Great Team and using our Gifts and Talents and that we can all work together to put a Stop to Bullying.
Tell us about some of The Imagifriends: their names, their personalities, etc.
The Mupperezmo – The Mupperezmo is The Great Leader and Mascot of The Imagifriends and the Mickey Mouse of our Whole Mission. He was Created based on the Very Important Fact that all those with Autism and Disabilities and Special Needs Think and Feel and See Things and The World and Life Much more Differently, even from a Very Different Point of View. Which is Exactly why He turns His Head Upside Down, so that He can see Things from a Very Different Point of View.
The Shy Friend – The Shy Friend is very Shy, but He is also very Friendly and Kind. He is so Shy that He always wears a Lampshade on His Head and Often likes to be by Himself at most times. He teaches that it is okay to be Shy Sometimes, If You Feel Shy Sometimes that is Okay! It is Nothing to be Ashamed of!
The Silly Clown Friend – The Silly Clown Friend is super Friendly and also very Silly. He loves to Bring Laughter to everyone and everywhere He goes. He Loves to Juggle very Soft Rubber Balls that have very Bright Colors and He also loves to make Silly Sounds. He teaches that it is Very Important to be Yourself and that it is Great and Awesome to spread Laughter and Joy Everywhere. Not Everything has to be taken so Darn Seriously! Be Yourself and Be Silly and Spread Joy and Laughter!
Lucia The Flying Cow – Lucia is a Very Sweet Cow who loves to Fly in the Nighttime Skies of Imagiville where The Moon and Stars of Imagiville shine so very Bright. She Never has a Care in the World and She Never Worries Either. She teaches that it is Never Good to worry, because there is nothing to worry about and that it is important to be carefree because a Situation is never Permanent, Situations are just Temporary and some great and Amazing and Awesome always comes out them. No Reason to worry at all!
What would you tell children with autism who feel alone or even bullied?
I would say, Listen, You are Never, Ever alone! You are very, very Special and Very Wonderful for who you are. It is not your fault that some choose to Bully. It is their own Fault and not Yours! You have a Very Amazing and Awesome and Wonderful Place in this World. You can even fulfill your Biggest Dreams and Goals! You can make a Very Powerful and Amazing and Very Incredible Difference in this World. Do not be afraid to tell someone about others who make fun of you! It is not Squealing, It is Reporting. Tell your Teachers and Parents and Friends about the ones who make Fun of You! Bullying is Never Okay and You Never Deserve to be Bullied! You are Very Special and Very Amazing and Wonderful!!
What do you think people – teachers, parents, and friends – can do to help individuals with autism so they do not feel alone or bullied?
I Think that Teachers, People, Parents and Friends should always give others with Autism Great Encouragement. They should let them know how very Special and Very Wonderful they are. They should say that they are Never alone and that they are there for them. It is also very Important to take a Great and Incredible Stand against Bullying Once and for all and they must always let those with Autism know that they are never alone and that they can do Great and Amazing and Very Wonderful Things. Most of all, Give them lots of Great Care and Support and Inspirations and Encouragement and Great Hope! It can and will make a Very, Very Powerful Difference for all those with Autism and Disabilities and Special Needs Around the World!
To learn more about D.J. and The Imagifriends, go to http://myimagiville.com/.Tags: autism artist, autism bullying, Bullying, D.J. Svoboda, DJ Svoboda, Imagifriends, Imagiville