The North Fork Vision program announces David Burns as the Learner of the Month for March. Dave has been selected as Student of the Month as much for his outstanding growth and progress as a Vision learner, as for his community service and willingness to serve others.
He embodies the best of North Fork Vision's core qualities, including integrity, character, perseverance and generosity. David has achieved great success, and he has done so with his special needs status as a Down syndrome student.
A large part of David's learning plan focuses upon developing skills that will help him to be as independent and integrated as possible within the community when he graduates. Seth Weber, the primary paraprofessional working with David for the past 10 years, commented, "When I began working with David Burns he was 8 years old. It was believed at that time that David would be incapable of speaking and interacting with others in a way that would enable him to grow into a functional adult. Now, at age 18 he has completely amazed all of us by growing into a capable, adventurous and personable young man with a courageous zest for life."
Seth added, "Dave's Delivery was created because of Dave's love for bicycle riding and his special knack for connecting with others." Dave pulls a trailer with his bicycle that allows him to carry mail, groceries, snacks and meals between businesses, schools and residences throughout the town of Paonia.
David's peers at North Fork Vision echo Seth's sentiments. He is well-liked and appreciated, especially by his fellow students who take shifts with him on his delivery, including Oakley Moore, Joey Tomei, Taj Rabin and Chase Small.
Creating and running this small business has been a platform where Dave builds his math, reading, writing and speaking skills, all the while staying in shape from daily bicycling. He takes a hand in every aspect of his business, including planning his routes, managing his schedule, collecting and delivering the goods, speaking to customers, handling changes in orders, tracking his expenses and income, and helping to manage his checking account.Dave keeps a tight schedule that is consistent weekly, and keeps track of it carefully with support from Seth and several other Vision learners who work with Dave within the community. At each stop, he remembers his customer's name and their typical order; receives their order, then delivers it. On a busy delivery day, Dave can ride up to 10 miles on his bike.
In addition to learning valuable skills while running his delivery business, Dave has participated, voluntarily, in two science projects since 2011, working with fellow Vision learners Savannah Russell, Katelan Sinski and Lily Stedman to study the benefits of equestrian therapy on Dave's speech. His trainer, Helen Denison, said, "At first, he was frightened of horses, but over time David has worked hard to take charge of a Morgan horse named Sole and has surpassed everyone's expectations in his ability as a horseman."
Lily Stedman shared, "The volume of Dave's speech improved after riding Sole. We could understand him better because he would speak louder."
In large and small ways, Dave is being acknowledged this month because he has stepped up consistently to physical and developmental challenges. He has made a real and positive impact on many people's lives.blog comments powered by Disqus