Brandon was a familiar face at Heartspring from 1996-2003, where he attended as a residential student. He came to Heartspring because of his unique needs, as well as his skills. Brandon was very bright, but prior to Heartspring, he was placed in a behaviorally challenged classroom because there wasn't a more appropriate place for him. Until Heartspring, that is. His father, Randy, recalls that "Heartspring was flexible enough to work with him in areas where he was already excelling, but also worked well with him on his deficits, so that all areas were treated."
With the help of Heartspring staff, Brandon transitioned from classes at Heartspring to a full-time student at Wichita North High School, where he graduated with his high school diploma. Brandon also participated in an accelerated history class and received bus training while attending Heartspring.
Brandon fondly remembers Heartspring and the staff that worked with him and the others who interacted with him on a regular basis. The interaction he had with a variety of people helped him practice and improve his social skills.
Fast forward five years and Brandon now lives in a residential setting in Springfield, IL. He works 20 hours a week as a clerical assistant at the Springfield ARC (SPARC) and he attends Lincoln Land Community College, taking six to eight hours of coursework each semester. Brandon is planning to graduate with his Associate's Degree and then hopes to transfer to the University of Illinois – Springfield. There, he will purse a degree in political science. It has worked well for him to space his classes out and his grades have been improving over the years. Brandon also has a girlfriend, Kelly. They have been dating for about a year. Brandon is independent, using public transportation and rides the bus to and from home, work and classes.
When asked how Heartspring prepared him for his success, Brandon says that his teacher at Heartspring was a big part of where he is today, as well as the volunteer job he had at St. Francis hospital.
Brandon is also an advocate for others with disabilities. In 2005, he attended a conference in Washington D.C as a delegate and sits on several local and state advocacy committees. Brandon enjoys making a difference in the lives of those around him. This is similar to Heartspring, where we hope to make a difference in the life of each child and young adult who enter our doors.