Thanks for the faith

Some of my earliest vivid memories are of the Rotary Centre School, later renamed the KidsAbility School. I don’t remember the lessons nearly as much as how fun it was to play with my classmates. I was generally uninterested in the confusion and difficulty of social interaction but The Rotary Centre was different. The teachers helped me overcome my initial hesitation towards the other children. I made some friends and even learned to play alongside the few kids I didn’t get along with, avoiding confrontation. I remember one of my classmates was non-verbal and had an infectious laugh; I would read books to him with improvised gestures and sound effects, hoping to get him laughing. After attending one year, I was too old for the Rotary School, and my parents decided to homeschool me based on the success I had at the Rotary Centre’s individualized program.

I believe that may have been the start of my interest in teaching disabled individuals, a passion that has since evolved. I now provide piano lessons and other tutoring for autistic children and children experiencing difficulties in traditional learning environments. I find it easy to change my teaching strategies to meet children’s individual requirements; a skill that I believe first came from those lessons at the Rotary Centre. I understood how the teachers helped me through my rigid thought processes and anxiety and saw they were able to do the same for the other children as well.

That was the beginning of my relationship with KidsAbility, and over the years the organization has improved my life in innumerable ways. As a child, they helped me get the physical therapy and aids I needed, and helped me improve my social skills further through various programs. They have also been there for me more recently, in my late adolescence. KidsAbility helped me acquire a computer with an ergonomic keyboard so I wouldn’t strain my joints through handwriting. They also helped fit me with my first wheelchair, prescribed to prevent injury and fatigue. But the most recent generous impact on my well-being has been the Steve Kidd Bursary, a fund administered through KidsAbility that helped to cover my tuition costs for university. Instead of being deeply in debt, I am now pursuing graduate studies in clinical psychology due to the support of Steve Kidd and KidsAbility. They believed I had a great future ahead of me, and I am doing my best to fulfill those expectations.

I certainly would not be the successful and happy person I am today without the generosity and understanding of KidsAbility and their donors. I hope that my experience may inspire others who are able to assist children who need a little help in reaching their full potential.

- Nathaniel Andrew

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