bbcon 2014: RJ Mitte and the Importance of Celebrity Ambassadors Living the Cause
FS/NM: When did you decide to share your story of how Shriners helped you personally? In relation to that, how powerful and important is sharing the stories of the children and families directly affected by Shriners?
RJM: I've always shared my story about Shriners. I'm not hiding that. Shriners was a very big part of my life, and it's continuing to be a part of my life. I think when I started sharing the story and I got the opportunity to start acting and start working and then that turned into a career, a job, it just made it louder. I always showed support to Shriners even as a child because they gave me the abilities that I have today and they are tremendous people that make such a difference.
It's important to tell the kids and families that their kids have the ability to do what i do. They have that ability to be in my position. Their disability does not hold them back. Their disability is knowledge. And yes, it is a struggle. It is a fight, and a lot of times you don't win the fight. But when you're able to take something like a disability — it doesn't have to be a physical condition, it can be a lot of different things — when you have a disability come into your world, facing it and holding it and using it to learn from is key. Everything is a learning experience, and you have to look at it as a learning experience. Everything in this world — be it bullying, be it disability, be it family, be it anything — you have to look at it as a learning experience. You cannot grow if you're not looking at it like that. It will pass right before your eyes before you know it, and it's gone.