The Story Is Yours to Tell, To Everyone You Know – ADDA

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A #GivingTuesday Interview with ADDA President Duane Gordon

by Larissa Balicki

At a time when so many issues, especially around wellness and support, are clamoring for attention, it’s easy to understand why the most powerful takeaway from our #GivingTuesday chat with ADDA president, Duane Gordon, is the urgency to create greater awareness of ADDA — through donations that grow our services and scale, and by our community amplifying that awareness through their own networks.

It’s also why, with over 80% of adults with ADHD still undiagnosed, ADDA is mounting its first #GivingTuesday awareness campaign, Rewrite the Story Behind the Story. Through raw, personal memoirs of adult ADHD struggles from our community, including one from Duane, we’re shining a light on the darkness that living undiagnosed can bring, while underlining that no story is automatically doomed to an unhappy ending.

Take a moment to sit down with Duane and learn why ADDA — and the gifts of your time and treasure — are so vital to so many people right now.

Duane, what inspired you to do this for the first time now?

Every day, ADDA members tell me how we were there for them at a low point in their lives. How we supported and connected them when no one could understand what they were going through. So they donate to ADDA, they volunteer, they raise awareness and refer their family, friends and clients to us.

Someone else ‘paying it forward’ helped them. And it’s what helps so many. So this year, we’re using our #GivingTuesday campaign to help even more people pay it forward.

How do donations help?

We’re volunteer-run: hundreds of passionate volunteers deliver ADDA’s programs and services, keeping us affordable for every adult with ADHD. We also offer financial aid to anyone who can’t afford our membership fees. During the pandemic, we invited all adults with ADHD to our webinars for free.

But operating our servers and infrastructure, paying for the tools our volunteers use, supporting them with professional services essential to a growing international organization — it’s expensive.

We improve our programs and services every year. But they pale in comparison to what’s coming.

What about the future?

We improve our programs and services every year. But they pale in comparison to what’s coming.

Your #GivingTuesday gift will help us launch a new, ADHD-friendly social media platform, a safe space to connect with peers between support group meetings. It will also help us bring new workplace training, to show more employers how improved communication and simple, affordable accommodations work for both employers and employees with ADHD.

Before a diagnosis, we stumble around in the dark, then suddenly our struggles have a name. And we want to know everything at once! So your #GivingTuesday contribution will also help us create training for newly-diagnosed adults.

What can people do to help ADDA and this campaign, in addition to their donations?

Do you love ADDA’s support groups? Invite one of your friends to join you, or get together with your ADDA peeps for a webinar watch party. If you know someone who isn’t an ADDA member, invite them to join. To the professionals who help our community, encourage your clients and patients to join ADDA for support that compliments yours.

Most of all, on #GivingTuesday spread the word on your socials, in your networks, everywhere. Tell every organization, every support group, every ADHD professional. Share the benefits of the ADDA family, that we’re a community of adults with ADHD dedicated to making life better for every adult with ADHD.

On #GivingTuesday spread the word on your socials, in your networks, everywhere.

So, awareness of ADHD and ADDA is crucial?

If you’re an adult with ADHD, remember how hard it was before you knew what it was? Or before you knew there were others like you?

We formed in 1989, when there was only awareness of ADD in little boys. Two decades later, we worked with the U.S. Senate to proclaim ADHD Awareness Day, which is now an annual, international, month-long effort.

Millions of adults with ADHD are struggling and they don’t know it. More awareness is needed so no adult faces this without treatment. And if you’re an ADDA member, you know how much the support of other people like you means.

Doctors help, but pills don’t teach skills. Only ADDA helps adults with ADHD learn to survive and thrive at home and at work.

What would a world without ADDA be like for people with ADHD?

Without ADDA, there would be no safe place to “drop the mask.” When you can hang out with people like you, you feel the weight lift from your shoulders. Without ADDA, adults with ADHD won’t learn what undiagnosed ADHD is like — and they’d have nowhere to turn once diagnosed. Doctors help, but pills don’t teach skills. Only ADDA helps adults with ADHD learn to survive and thrive at home and at work.

And without us, no united voice would explain ADHD to the neurotypical world. Our struggles have a lot to do with the way the world works, and we work with organizations to help make the world more ADHD friendly.

On #GivingTuesday, November 30th, your money and time will help rewrite real stories of struggle and setback in a new, hopeful direction.

But what about right now?

Mark November 30th today. Plan what you’ll give and what you’ll do to spread our stories and messages (which we’ll be sharing with you in the days ahead), so that your network will know how important this is to you.

— Until then, if you want to let people know about us, or let them know that you’ll be counting on them on #GivingTuesday, do it.

— If you’re not already a member of ADDA, join now. Your $5 a month has great power when we all work together, and you will help us fund more adults with ADHD whose story badly needs a rewrite. Your membership just might be what starts it.

We’ll be sharing more of what we all can do on #GivingTuesday on our website, channels and more, so stay in touch.

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