Meet On The Avenue’s Intern Haley!

Haley is finishing her senior year at Lipscomb University, studying graphic design, while also working as an intern On The Avenue.

“I had no idea what I was getting into when I met Tom and we got to talking about this place. Now I’m here, and this place has blown me away,” Haley said. “I am so excited to come in here every day.”

Haley has previous experiences working with people with special needs. In particular, the summer before she started college, she worked as a nanny for twins, one who was nonverbal and had autism. It was this experience that gave her a glimpse at some of the joys and challenges of living and loving someone with special needs.

Haley explained that eventually the family moved out of state to pursue additional education and therapy options. After some time, Haley received a call from the family, and the boy spoke her name to her over the phone. Haley shared, “I was in tears, and it just really touched me. From that day on, people with autism have had a big place in my heart.”

Little did she know, it would come full circle four years later, and she’d join the team On The Avenue..

“Building connections and getting to know the each of the Citizens individually has been amazing,” she said. “They all have such passions and skills. I like to tell them that us ‘neurotypicals’ love putting things into boxes because it’s easier. We tend to put the whole world of being on the autism spectrum into a box. But at the end of the day, we’re all people, wanting to love and be loved, wanting to laugh and communicate with others.”

Learn more about Haley on this episode of Spectrum Talks:

To learn more about On The Avenue or to attend as a Citizen visit:!

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