20 Apr Finding Inclusion and Meaning
At New Hope, there is one group of individuals that just might have more fun than any others. Our AIM participants, affectionately called AIMsters, are making sure that they live up to their program’s name – Achieving Inclusion and Meaning. These young adults spend most of their time together in the Indianapolis community, learning skills for independence, practicing philanthropy through volunteerism and teaching others what it means to be truly inclusive.
Our AIMsters, like most of the people we serve, have various types of intellectual and developmental disabilities. This can sometimes make it difficult to live independently, make friends, get a job and feel a part of the community. New Hope’s AIM program works to make these things, and so much more, less difficult. For the AIMsters with Autism Spectrum Disorder, this program can be a great place to learn and grow as they move from high school into adulthood. Shortly after the program began in 2018, we met Jacob. In honor of Autism Awareness Month, we want to share his story once again.
Jacob Nydam first joined New Hope’s AIM program as a high school student at the beginning of 2019, attending only a couple of days a week. After graduating from Hamilton South Eastern, Jacob began coming more often. His favorite part of the AIM program is spending time with his friends. He enjoys their trips to the park where he can explore the woods and to the library where he can read and learn new things on the computer. He also enjoys their volunteer activities with Meals on Wheels and other local nonprofits.
“Jacob is constantly experiencing new adventures each day he attends: bowling, golfing, visiting museums, movies, Colts training camp or the Indy500 to name a few as well as helping give back to the community through volunteering,” says Jacob’s mom, Susie Nydam. “New Hope’s AIM program has given him a place to go every day where he has a purpose and is able to enjoy these experiences with his friends. I think it gives him independence away from us, his parents, which is so important. We are blessed to have found this program and the people that run the program are amazing! They are kind, patient, full of energy and always working on new goals with Jacob.”
If you ask Jacob, he’ll tell it to you plainly. “I like it here at New Hope!”
We have loved getting to know Jacob over the last three years and are so grateful to continue to serve him through the AIM program!