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Empowering Individuals with Developmental Disabilities

Andrew Sharick

For the last half century SCARC has been providing various programs and services for many individuals with developmental disabilities; Andrew Sharick is one of the hundreds whose lives have been enhanced by the many wonderful staff, programs and services that SCARC provides to its clients. Let’s see how Andrew’s life has been touched…

Since the age of three, Andrew, now 21, has been a part of the SCARC family. Andrew was diagnosed at an early age with PDD/NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disability/Not Otherwise Specified), which is on the autistic spectrum. His parents Alice and Andy signed up for SCARC’s Respite services after learning of the organization and its programs and services that support not only the individuals with developmental disabilities, but also their families. Once he was enrolled in SCARC’s programs, a better quality of life began to blossom for Andrew.

From his first days with the Respite program, Andrew grew as did the number of programs he took advantage of. At the age of 5, he began attending the Blue Mountain Day Camp through SCARC’s Summer Camp Program. In doing so, Andrew was able to start building his socialization skills at an early age. Through the program he took part in various recreational activities and learned to integrate his skills with campers without disabilities.

A year later, Andrew began attending SCARC’s weekly JUST US KIDS Respite program, which allowed Andrew to continue to work on his socialization skills, while enjoying recreational activities and making new friends.

Over the next 12 years, Andrew saw the benefits of SCARC’s programs. During that time he successfully achieved his black belt in karate and served as a self-advocate at the 2005 ARC National Convention in San Diego. By age 18, having already made some amazing strides, Andrew was prepared to enter his senior year of high school. Receiving personalized services from a SCARC Transition Counselor throughout the year, he acquired a part-time filing job at Newton Motor Sports.

Andrew worked at Newton Motor Sports for the next three years, while simultaneously taking classes at Sussex County Community College (SCCC). He attended SCCC with a NJ STARS scholarship (New Jersey Student Assistance Reward Scholarship). When he graduated high school in 2007, the criteria for this scholarship was to be in the top 20 percent of the class in either your junior or senior year. To keep the scholarship, he had to maintain a 3.0 or better GPA each semester at college. The scholarship paid for Andrew’s full SCCC tuition for five semesters.

Andrew’s success at SCCC would not have been possible without the assistance of SCARC’s transition counselor; Dr. Kathleen Okay, Director of the Learning Center at SCCC; his school district’s Child Study Team Case Manager; a representative from the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) and, of course, his parents.

One of Andrew’s accomplishments at SCCC was being inducted into Psi Beta, a national honor society in psychology for community and junior colleges. The requirements for Psi Beta membership include: ranking in the top 35 percent or having an overall GPA of 3.0, whichever is higher, and having at least a “B” average in psychology; having completed at least one semester of a psychology course and 12 semester hours of total college credits; having demonstrated a genuine interest in psychology and displaying high standards of personal behavior and integrity; and having been approved by the local Psi Beta chapter and receiving a written invitation to membership.

Andrew adjusted to his educational and professional routine, while also being a part of various clubs and activities, including the Business Club and the Psychology Club where he served as vice president for one year. In May 2010, he received his Associates Degree in Liberal Arts, and the title of “college graduate” – impressive for a young person with autism.

For a young man with autism, Andrew has accomplished quite a bit. He is a high school and college graduate who is motivated and dedicated to improving his life and all of this is fueled by the support and care of his parents, as well as the SCARC staff, programs and services.

SCARC will continue to be a part of Andrew’s life, giving him support and being a source of inspiration to help him achieve all of his goals.

“I think participating in SCARC activities has broadened my horizons,” said the scholarly Andrew Sharick.

Latest News & Upcoming Events

SCARC Receives UPS Foundation Grant
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2017 Gordon Shelton Memorial Walk-a-Thon
Gordon Shelton Memorial Walk-A-Thon Sussex County Fair Grounds May 21, 2017 - 11AM-3PM http://scarcwalk2017.kintera.org
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