Who We Are
Austin Rector – President
Growing up I was often bullied for the way I talked, for being overweight, and I was in speech class for most of elementary school.
Luckily, I also had a group of friends growing up that couldn’t care less about the way I spoke or how much I weighed. We would laugh, play games, read books, and play sports. I had so much fun with my new friends that I’d often go to their classroom during recess to avoid the playground. Who would have known that the friends I made in speech class, back in elementary school, would teach me how to see people for just what they are…people. The time I spent with my friends that were in special education brought me so much joy during those tough times of harassment and ridicule, and continue to bring so much joy to my life now that I am an adult.
I spent my high school years working closely with organizations that promote awareness for individuals with IDD. I was the Chapter President of my high schools Best Buddies Chapter for three years, leading our group to become the largest club on campus, I lead an anti-bullying initiative complete with an assembly, had the opportunity to travel the world with Special Olympics Arizona to help spread awareness, and coached sports through the City of Chandler’s Therapeutic Recreation Department. My high school years were awesome because of all the friends I made in Best Buddies, Special Olympics, and the City of Chandler. My days were filled with backyard pool parties, movies, and events that included kids from all backgrounds, different social groups, and different abilities. That’s the way life should be!
I am currently a Recreation Leader for the City of Chandler’s Therapeutic Recreation Department, I am a Certified Personal Trainer, and I am a college student pursuing my degree in the medical field. It’s always been very important to me that society treats all people, regardless of their abilities, with the respect they deserve.
Acceptance, Respect, Inclusion…..IT’S ALWAYS POSSIBLE!!
Niki Rector – Vice President
Hi! My name is Niki and I am beyond excited to be the co-founder of AR Inclusion!
As a parent there is nothing worse than watching your child have a difficult time no matter what their age. Our hope is that AR Inclusion will help create a society that is more accepting, and without judgement. By teaching our children, neighbors, family, and friends how to be more tolerant of our differences, I think we can all work together to really make a difference in our communities.
I was the Best Buddies Friendship Walk Chair for three years including the inaugural year, along with volunteering my time to several other initiatives including Special Olympics Arizona, coaching cheer for the high school Unified team, and hosting numerous Best Buddies Chapter events at my home. I also enjoy playing Unified Flag Football for one of the City of Chandler’s Special Olympics teams. In my free time I enjoy watching movies, spending time with my family, baking, dragging myself to the gym, and my most favorite thing in the world is being a mom!
Have you ever felt out of place? Have you ever felt like you just weren’t good enough? I know I have, and no one should ever feel that way! So come join us to promote acceptance, respect, and inclusion regardless of your abilities! Everyone is welcome!