Change that ables

Meet Matt Trybus

Matt Trybus can’t sit still. Like many people diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder as children, ADHD has been a lifelong challenge for him. But Matt has transformed his struggle into his strength.

Matt Trybus with his wife Mary Clay and daughters Anna and Reid.

“Though challenging to live with at times,” he says, “I also believe it is one of my greatest gifts. Here at JMU, I believe it helps me to relate to many of the students with whom I work. It’s also fantastic working in an office where people know how to design environments that are conducive to my way of being in the world.”

What makes Matt exceptional — and a new addition to JMU’s  Be the Change website — is that he takes problems and transforms them into solutions. In his work, he does this every day as a disabilities services specialist in JMU’s Office of Disability Services.  He’s passionate about changing the perception of disabilities on campus and helping students change disabilities into abilities. And he wants to create an inclusive environment for students who happen to have disabilities. Matt is also quick to add that he’s part of a committed team who are all of like mind. Their work changes JMU everyday as more and more students find success.

But that’s not all Matt does to further change. He also works with Organization for Youth Empowerment, which is changing the future of Honduras. By building up Honduran youth who have been caught in a cycle of poverty and illiteracy, OYE is changing the future of Honduras. Matt first traveled to the country on a trip with JMU’s Service Learning Center. As a learning partner with the group, Matt not only found a mission with OYE, he also had an impact on JMU students.  One student on the trip, Katherine Worten, said, “I believe that to change the world begins with helping other people along the way, which is just what Matt has done for me and countless others.” Katherine wasn’t alone in her assessment. She and four other students nominated Matt for Be the Change.

For Matt, change is a family affair. His wife Mary Clay, who teaches social work at Mary Baldwin College in Staunton, and their daughters have the same desire to Be the Change.  Currently, Matt and Mary Clay are training for Richmond’s half-marathon and they are using it as a tool for raising funds for Hondurans and OYE. And when Matt’s not running, he’s biking or traveling or spending time with his family.

Just never sitting still.

To learn more about Matt and OYE, check out these links:

And stay tuned to learn about a current JMU student who also is changing her own difficulty into work that benefits others.



About James Madison University
This blog is about the people of James Madison University — a caring, committed and engaged community spread all over the world, making lives better and brighter, healthier and safer, kinder and bolder. As Gandhi suggested, we are taking steps to BE the CHANGE we wish to see in the world. And these are our stories....

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