We all wonder what tomorrow brings. We can plan and strategize and create a future for ourselves but when it comes to providing a future for a loved one with a disability it is not easy. As you know, my wife and I struggle every day with what that future holds for Andrew. We have been searching for the right opportunity for Andrew when he no longer is eligible to be in the public school system. Honestly, the options are not very good. That is until earlier this year when we found out about a new program in southeast Wisconsin called Matthias Academy. (Think Misericordia without the 500 person waiting list and Chicago location.)
Matthias Academy will be a job and educationally based day program serving individuals with disabilities over the age of 18.
What will Matthias Academy to offer?
The answer is opportunities. A lot of them. There will be daily classes. Classes such as Meteorology.. Art.. Marketing.. Horticulture.. Social Media.. Reading.. Music.. Cooking.. Geography.. Spanish and so on.. The students will take two classes each day, the graduate students will take one class per day allowing more time for work, with the classes lasting between 30-45 minutes. The students will be required to exercise every day. Students who are wheelchair bound will spend as minimal time in their wheelchairs as possible each day. The students will run the cafe, thrift store, bike shop, bakery and garden center, which will all be open to the public. Students are “students” until they are 30 years old, when they turn 30, they become “graduate students” this means they will take one class at a time, continue to exercise each day, do their jobs, and socialize. When students turn 65 they can choose to semi-retire... meaning they can take one class, work one job per day, exercise still required, and they get to socialize a little more during the day. Think, the retired group of men that meet at McDonalds every morning fro coffee... they have that option at 65 and each year after, to be semi-retired.
Over the last 18 years we have struggled to make Andrew’s day to day life engaging, educational and socially meaningful for him. Disabilities, limitations and behaviors can limit the opportunities for a young man like Andrew. Matthias Academy is the first day program and living environment we have seen that will provide a meaningful life that includes on-going education, socialization and personal fulfillment and we have seen many other programs!
We are currently taking part in a crowdfunding stage which requires us to raise $3000 to gain pioneer status. Fundraising is open until April 15th. If we achieve the $3000 mark, Andrew will meet his application fee. Once Matthias Academy is open, the application fee will be significantly greater. Today we received news that the organization is ahead of schedule (due to a significant donation made this weekend) and should be open sooner than thought! Fundraising is a great way to create awareness and that is our number one goal. One way or another we will hit the $3000 mark. Your support however is very important because awareness comes from the ask and giving. We, along with many other families in our situation have been waiting a long time for an opportunity like this!
Matthias Academy is a qualified 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization.
Matthias Academy IN THE NEWS!