NextStep at Endeavor Academy hosts grand opening

The Marianna two-year program helps train people with autism and teaches them life-long skills to work alongside others in society.
Published: Nov. 17, 2023 at 11:08 PM CST
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MARIANNA, Fla. (WTVY) - NextStep at Endeavor Academy recently underwent some renovations.

The new facility in Marianna includes classrooms, a kitchen, and more.

NextStep at Endeavor Academy is a two-year program for people with autism. This academy trains them up and teaches them life-long skills to work alongside others in society.

“Monday through Thursday we are here having classes. There are 32 courses in the two-year program. They are on things like finance and cooking,” Tammy Dasher, the director of the NextStep at Endeavor program, said.

This academy is for people ages 18 and up. Many have already benefitted from the program, like Trinity Ward. Ward learned how to step out of her shell.

“Well, in the past I used to be afraid. Afraid of what I’m going to do in the future, how am I going to survive? Until I joined this academy. I became more confident in myself,” Trinity said.

Parents are excited about this relocation as well. They thank the community and academy for accepting their children and to let them work on job sites.

“The businesses have been very open in taking our children, well our adults have the opportunity to work. And I don’t think they would have let them without the help of the NextStep program,” Syntha Alvarez, a parent at NextStep at Endeavor Academy, said.

Dasher is ecstatic to see her students grow and learn.

“So many people told me they did not have any friends before joining, they were lonely. I think what we give them here is an opportunity to maybe get those skills. Not that every autistic person needs to hang out with autistic people, but because people need friends,” Dasher said.

NextStep at Endeavor Academy will be taking in a new cohort next year, and they are open to whoever wants to join the academy.

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