How a chance meeting forged a life-changing mentorship

Posted on Nov 18 2015 - 8:26pm by Ashley Rey

How a chance meeting forged a life-changing mentorship

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How a chance meeting forged a life-changing mentorship

How a chance meeting forged a life-changing mentorship

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Promoted by American Greetings
We’ve all heard of a bucket list, but what about a ThankList? It’s a list of people you want to thank for shaping you as a person. And a step toward a world that’s just a little bit nicer. Share on social who’s on your #ThankList and tag the people who made you who you are today!

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They say what goes around comes around — and it’s the principle of karma. Even physics agrees that forces always exist in pairs: Newton’s third law states that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. This applies to the everyday. Our actions in life have an impact on the lives of those around us, and often, what we put out there comes back our way in some way, shape or form. 
So sometimes when people do amazing things, the result is equally amazing. Such is the case with Andrew Turney, a young autistic man, and the many people involved with Exceptional Minds, a school for artists on the autism spectrum.
Watch the video below for a truly inspiring story on how chance meeting at a dog park helped not only Andrew and Exceptional Minds, but all parties involved. And remember: When we finally find a heartfelt way to thank those that helped us, sometimes that gratitude comes right back around.

How it all began

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Lisa Schaeffer, a teacher in Southern California, first met her new friend, Richard Gasparian at a dog park – their pups instantly hit it off, and so did they. 
When Richard, an Emmy Award-winning director, mentioned that he worked on The Simpsons, Lisa recalled an autistic student — Andrew Turney — who is a huge fan of the show and a budding animator. Though she had not seen Andrew for some time, her mind kept wandering back to him, and his love for cartoons.
“We hit it off, and Lisa and her husband, Steve, have become really good friends with me and my wife Holly. And that was the beginning of this,” recalls Richard on how it all started.

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Lisa introduced Richard to Andrew and his mother, Patricia Turney. When asked about what this meeting, and Richard’s continued mentorship, means to him, Andrew says, “Well, it makes me inspired doing character designs and wiring and voice work, most likely.” Andrew’s interests have only expanded since meeting Richard, and his mother says he has more drive than ever.
Patricia was already grateful to another individual helping her son to live his dreams: Ernie Merlan, part of Exceptional Minds, a school for artists on the autism spectrum. Faced with the opportunity to help out the school that gave so much joy to her son, Patricia decided that the two should meet.

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“Meeting Andrew has done more for me, probably, than him. It makes me feel really good that I can give back.”

… And it comes full circle

So now, Ernie is grateful to Patricia and Andrew for helping to bring Richard into the Exceptional Minds program as a mentor, and allowing more aspiring artists to learn from one of the greats in the animation business.
And Andrew, of course, is thankful to his teacher Lisa Schaeffer, the person who started this very circle of thanks by introducing him to his hero. 

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I think when you say ‘thank you’ to other people, or you express gratitude in general, you’re able to look at life through different eyes.
Ernie Merlan

Source: MASHABLE Lifestyle
How a chance meeting forged a life-changing mentorship

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