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The Vista School Parntership

In 2002, Michael Jarman was looking for a solution to treating his twin boys with autism. It became apparent to him that the services his sons needed were not easily accessible. Parents of children with autism had to arrange for their child to receive the various services they needed like behavior, speech, occupational, and physical therapy. Coordinating the treatment was complicated and confusing and so expensive that many parents risked bankruptcy paying for them.

Mike, along with other parents with autistic children and autism professionals believed that they could do better by braiding all of these services together and make them available at one location. The goal was to provide the full services these families needed without costing them so much money.

Together, they convinced the state to fund a private school for children with special needs and autism called The Vista School. The funding for the school came from the Department of Education and the services were paid for by the Department of Human Services.

The goal is to ensure that none of the families have to pay out of pocket for these essential services their child needs. All of the direct services are covered however there are a number of indirect costs that aren’t reimbursed. This includes things like capital improvements to facilities and technological needs.

Finding a Partner in First Nonprofit

In order to provide the children at The Vista School the support they need, having dedicated benefactors is vital. They discovered First Nonprofit and were delighted to see that they were located right in their backyard. After meeting with Joe Geiger, First Nonprofit Foundation President, and CEO, and other members of First Nonprofit they knew they had found not just a benefactor, but a partner.

Visiting The Vista School allowed First Nonprofit to see the specialized care the school provides and the essential role it plays in the lives of these children and their families. After asking questions about the services the school provides, the organization’s various needs were discussed including the technological needs and the need for an updated website.

“Joe and First Nonprofit were really interested in learning about how we work, what our challenges are – he really got to know us,” said Linda Whipple, the Vista School Development Director.

Looking Toward the Future

Since it’s founding, The Vista School continues to grow its support for the autistic community. In 2014 they added adult services for adults with autism. This new branch of the organization offers housing, training, and employment support.

In 2017 The Vista School started an early intervention program for young children newly diagnosed with autism. The program works with kids to help increase the likelihood that they’ll be able to attend mainstream school.

With the help of First Nonprofit, they now have their sights set on a new, comprehensive website. The website will combine their current sites to create one site that will make it easier for visitors to learn more about their organization and find out how to get involved.

Linda and the rest of her team are excited to see this project progress. “We look forward to better serving our families, better partnership with the community with a website that’s easier to navigate.”