A Herricks High School junior drew inspiration from his twin sister, who has autism, to create a nonprofit that coordinates events for young people who have the disorder and their families.
Justin Janoson, 15, launched the Janoson Society for Autism Awareness with the goal of making places more accessible for those with autism. The organization has coordinated 13 private movie showings at local theaters since the nonprofit became official in January.
As many as 50 people have attended each of the showings, including at Broadway Multiplex Cinemas in Hicksville and MovieWorld in Douglaston, Queens. The next three, all at BowTie Cinemas in Franklin Square, will be “Thor: Ragnarok” on Nov. 12, “Coco” on Dec. 3 and “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” on Dec. 17.
“Many parents have given positive feedback,” Janoson said. “It means a lot, because it means we’re helping people.”
He also was spurred to create the nonprofit by his experience as a fourth-grader at an autism-friendly Broadway production of “The Lion King.” He spreads the word about his nonprofit through social media and local Special Education PTA groups.
Janoson is a member of his school’s TV Studio Club. He was elected earlier this year to be the Social Action/Tikun Olam (SA/TO) vice president of the BethRock USY, a Jewish teen youth group.