OWENSBURG, Ind. — Sam Mitchell is a young podcast host who takes pride in being a voice for those on the autism spectrum. He's a southern Indiana native, but even he is surprised just how far his message is spreading outside the state.
Sam started a nonprofit about a year ago called Autism Rocks and Rolls Corporation, which aims to advocate and encourage others who, like Sam, are on the autism spectrum. It all started with the 19-year-old's passion for podcasts.
According to Sam, a media class he took in junior high school sparked his interest in recording — but little did he know, he'd found his calling.
"I got to share stories that had never been heard, or that I didn't want to share due to people not understanding," Sam said.
He started sharing his own experiences as a young adult on the autism spectrum, and that hobby snowballed with his podcasts being widely shared on Facebook, and took off from there.
"The mission of Autism Rocks and Rolls is to take away the stigma of autism and other conditions that many think are disabilities," Sam said.
Sam has had some noteworthy interviews on his podcast. He named former WWE Wrestler Nick Foley and scientist Temple Grandin as some of his favorite guests to date.
It was Sam's quick success behind the mic that challenged him to do more, eventually founding his own nonprofit that's run with his mom, Gina Mitchell, by his side.
"People are really surprised by an almost 20-year-old running a company," Gina said.
Sam hasn't been in the nonprofit business long, but he's already giving back.
On Wednesday, Sam helped present a $1,000 check to HANDS in Autism at Riley Hospital for Children. The donation was made possible after a recent Autism Rocks and Rolls gala.
"People on the spectrum are not broken and do not need to be fixed. Those who have these conditions should not be pitied," Sam said while hosting a guest on his podcast. "There's nothing to be sorry about."
It may come as no surprise that Sam is also a motivational speaker.
"He was invited to speak in Poland a few days ago, and we are still freaking out about that," Gina said.
Despite his international success, Sam said he's taking it all in stride.
"We'll just see where it goes," Sam said. "I always joke and say, 'Ask me again in five years and we'll talk again' because I am taking this one day at a time."
Autism Rocks and Rolls is available on a handful of platforms, including Apple and Spotify.
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