Nyle DiMarco is used to being the student in the Dancing with the Stars ballroom, but the deaf model became the teacher when he teamed up with YouTube star Tyler Oakley for a new DoSomething.org campaign.
“I want to help better deaf people’s lives,” DiMarco tells PEOPLE exclusively of working with Oakley to promote the We Are Able campaign, which aims to help eliminate the stigma that surrounds people with disabilities.
“Working with Nyle was the most fun I’ve had making a collaboration in years,” adds Oakley. “Last January, I began a project to caption all of my videos to be more inclusive with my content, but nothing is as inclusive as representation. Knowing Nyle’s story and seeing him highlight his best abilities will inspire millions.”
In a video that launched on Oakley’s YouTube page Tuesday, DiMarco teaches the online star some American Sign Language
“I loved filming with Tyler,” says DiMarco. “He’s such a sweet guy and has great hands- he’s able to pick up signs easily. It is a skill. I loved how we immediately connected. In the video, it could seem as if we’ve known for years but we’ve only met minutes before! That’s how amazing Tyler is. He sees the good in every person and he’s able to connect to it.”
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Students with disabilities are two to 3 times more likely to be bullied than their nondisabled peers, according to DoSomething.org. DiMarco – who also recently launched the Nyle DiMarco Foundation – hopes to make things better by encouraging others to sign up for the campaign.
He and Oakley encourage fans to print out their own “We Are Able” signs, fill them out with their own best ability written on it, and share them on social media using the hashtag #WeAreAble.
“This campaign is the perfect way for young kids to realize and become more inclusive when they meet deaf people,” says DiMarco. The young generation is our future and they’re the ones that can help better the world.”