Andrew, like all our students, was a gentle, kind and naive young man when arrived at Riverview as a 6th grade day student. He came to our campus primarily looking for friends. He wanted to know if there would be other students like him. He also wanted to be sure that Riverview would teach him how to read. During his initial visit Andrew said he felt welcomed and included by fellow students everywhere on campus and knew right away that Riverview was the right place for him. In Andrew’s words: “I felt like I was finally in a place where I mattered!” Andrew made friends. Andrew learned to read. And only six months after he enrolled showed off his new skills to his parents by reading and ordering from a menu, bringing his father to tears. Andrew had found his home at Riverview!
After that first year, and despite how hard it was going to be for his parents to not see Andrew every day, they enrolled him fully in the residential program. With the benefit of access to the fully immersive programming of being a residential student he grew in leaps and bounds. Understanding how Andrew learned best, staff utilized adaptive tools to help him progress through the academic curriculum and independent living programming. And over the next six years Andrew built up a deep foundation of knowledge, skills and confidence gained in the classroom, dormitory, on the field, up on-stage, all-over campus, and out in the local community.
With seven years of middle school and high school experience/success Andrew went onto Riverview’s post-secondary program, G.R.O.W. (Getting Ready for the Outside World) and has continued to flourish. As a member of the Project Search program, Andrew is currently working in a pharmacy, is loving it, and dreams of either working in a hospital or applying his skills in another business. In his last year at Riverview Andrew walks our campus as a confident leader and role model to our young middle school students. They, like he did, will benefit from their early start and their numerous years of experience at Riverview. They will have the benefit of time to experiment, make mistakes, learn about themselves, grow confident, and gain knowledge, make lots of friends to lean on, and develop the knowledge and skills for a successful and happy life.