Tommy shows its never too late to learn as he graduates college at 53 years old!
It wasn’t an easy journey but 53-year-old Tommy worked hard and the support staff from Easterseals UCP never gave up on his dream to graduate from college.
Tommy graduated from Central Piedmont Community College with a certificate of completion from the I-LEAD program (Independence and Literacy Education for Adults with Disabilities). This special program provides specialized education and transition courses to help gain skills to achieve independence, employment and being part of his community. Tommy, who lives with cerebral palsy, began the program in 2002.
Over the years, Easterseals UCP paraprofessionals BeLinda Bishop and Reid Henighan with the Individual and Community Services program, supported Tommy by urging him to attend classes and complete his assignments. Meanwhile, they worked on daily living skills such as assisting with cooking, cleaning, money management and hygiene.
Reid said, “You can achieve what you choose to. All you have to do is put that front foot forward and continue doing what you want to do. Disability does not play any part in getting an education.” Reid, who has been supporting Tommy for seven years, had tears of joy during the graduation. Throughout the years, Reid has been Tommy’s paraprofessional and his best friend. “This is a great milestone for Tommy to achieve. I’m proud of him!”
Once the pandemic comes to an end, Tommy plans to look for a job and get back out in the community. Easterseals UCP is proud of Tommy and the Individual and Community Services staff for yet another success!
Watch Tommy’s graduation video here!
About Easterseals UCP
Easterseals UCP North Carolina & Virginia is a trustworthy, compassionate partner providing exceptional disability and behavioral health services to help our neighbors live their best lives. Purpose, dedication and empathy drive our service delivery. Our diverse and inclusive 2,300 member team provides more than 9 million hours of meaningful support to 22,000 kids, adults and families in 11,000 home and community locations.