Jeremiah Harris says that he is now beginning to love math and even has a best friend named Cade, "He's not that bad when you really get to know him," he laughs. Jeremiah is a new student at The Vanguard School. He is 13 years old and local to the community, hailing from Auburndale, Florida. Jeremiah explains, "So far, my favorite classes are math and gym. Math isn't normally my favorite subject but I am slowly starting to get back into it. I, also, was accepted onto the Track Team." Some other aspects that he is enjoying is being able to visit his friends after class.
For the first time in his life, Jeremiah has friends. He is finally feeling what it is like to be socially accepted. Jeremiah has been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. People who have Autism Spectrum Disorder often have certain types of characteristics such as:
- Ongoing social problems that include difficulty communicating and interacting with others.
- Repetitive behaviors as well as limited interests or activities.
- Symptoms that typically are recognized in the first two years of life.
- Symptoms that hurt the individual's ability to function socially, at school or work, or other areas of life.
Along with his social successes, he is achieving academic ones as well. He wakes up and is excited to go to class, rather than wanting to be at home and on the internet. Life has grown exponentially for him and his future is brighter than ever. Jeremiah's mother, Mrs. Harris, explains the change she has seen since he began attending Vanguard, "It's amazing. It's a 180 degree change. Now he looks forward to learning when before he never did. And he has friends who enjoy his company. He loves reading and has been known to even leave his electronics at home. Now that he has such an active academic and social life, he's too busy to talk to me during the week!"
Jeremiah is finally getting the one-on-one education that he needed and therefore seeing what a difference individualized education makes.
Funding for Jeremiah's scholarship comes in part from a grant through the GiveWell Community Foundation's annual grant program, Impact Polk. Through them, he received a scholarship that has helped him to attend The Vanguard School.
The Givewell Community Foundation awards grants from the Foundation's annual competitive grant cycle called Impact Polk. It has the goal of addressing community needs in Polk County.
The Vanguard School was awarded such a grant and gave those funds to one local, 5-day boarding student and thus, Mr. Harris was chosen. Mrs. Harris commented, "We want to say thank you for the scholarship and [to the Givewell Community Foundation]. We are just so overwhelmed and happy for him."
When just one student with learning differences receives a specialized education, the entire community benefits. They are no longer just another statistic or challenge to remediate. Rather, they have the opportunity to go on and pursue their dreams and goals. They have all the tools necessary to get them there. Their story can now become a successful one, just like Jeremiah's.
Please click the logo to visit the Givewell Community Foundation website.