Hi, my name is… Lisa Masters. I am the founder of Autism Life and Living, Inc. (ALL), a local nonprofit. Our mission is to provide safe, supported, and affordable housing for adults with autism.
I’ve lived in North Phoenix (Dynamite Mountain Ranch) for 14 years and I love it because… It is a close-knit community with great people. Wherever we go in the neighborhood we always run into someone we know. I love that small town feel.
A typical day in my life includes… Being a mom of two adult sons on the autism spectrum, my day is far from typical. I start my day sipping a cup of hot tea with two furry Goldendoodles by my side. My youngest is the first to wake and he jumps into gear getting his day going. Then eventually my oldest, Brandon, will wake. He requires a bit more assistance getting his day going. We then all talk about our plans for the day, which can be having a speech therapist or occupational therapist come to the house to work on goals, or a day out in the community working on life skills and going to lunch. When Brandon and Andrew are set with their daily to-do list, that is when I work on building my nonprofit organization.
My family… Is my life. Brandon and Andrew are the purest sweetest souls I have ever known. They have no judgements or prejudices. I love living life through their eyes. It is quite an experience, to witness a black and white thinker try to perceive our grey world. It is a unique perspective and often quite funny. Then there are our two doodles, Carson and Abby. I’m sure they think they are human.
One thing I cannot live without is… Pizza. I can’t live without pizza.
My favorite movie I could never get tired of watching and why… “Toy Story 2.” When my boys were younger and having a rough day, I would put this movie on, and they would be entertained by their favorite characters, Woody for Brandon, and Buzz for Andrew. It immediately calmed them and made them so happy. Those smiles are engraved in my mind.
When I was younger, I wanted to be… A child psychologist. Though life events did not allow for that, I feel I have put my education to good use.
The song I would sing at Karaoke night is… “Out of Touch” by Hall and Oates.
The one person who motivates me is… My youngest son, Andrew. He has overcome so much and has done so with perseverance, a positive attitude, and courage. He is the bravest person I know.
The last thing that made me laugh out loud was…The entire “My Cousin Vinny” movie.
The perfect day would be… A day at the beach with my family and of course our two crazy doodles, enjoying the water, building sandcastles, playing frisbee, and having a picnic.
My favorite local nonprofit is… While there are obviously many amazing nonprofits in the Valley, the people that have joined my organization (ALL) are tremendous individuals with kind hearts that believe in our mission and are dedicated to solving the severe housing crisis adults with autism face. I am honored to have them be part of the ALL family. Check us out at autismlifeandliving.org.
My life… Takes me places I’d never dreamed of going.
The best gift I’ve ever received was…When Brandon was 12, we were in Costco. He stopped dead in his tracks in front of the flower display. I wasn’t sure what he was doing but after a while he grabbed a bunch of flowers and handed them to me. He told me he wanted to give me flowers because he loved me.
My dream vacation would be to… The Amalfi Coast.
The best piece of advice I’ve ever received… I was once told, “You may not have the level of education or wealth of those you meet with, but if you share the same passion for the cause, you are on common ground.”