I have some very dear friends, the Curtins. Jenni Curtin was one of my roommates (sort of) in college and we have been best buds ever since.
Jenni and her husband Tom are the amazing parents of 10 kids. (Yes, she gave birth to all of them. No, they don’t have any twins. And no, they aren’t Catholic.) To spend time with them is to understand what family is all about. They have instilled in each of their children the values of hard work, showing kindness, faith in God and contributing to their community.
In spite of his full time job with Eurodrive and his other full time job being a dad to 10 kids, he has spent the last 20 years coaching youth football in Howell, Michigan, pouring himself into the lives of hundreds of young people in Livingston County.
Jenni has home schooled her children and at the same time has organized charity concerts every year to raise money for Love, Inc, to help those most in need in Livingston County. She has been a worship leader at their church and she currently works for Citizens for Traditional Values, a political advocacy group in Michigan. In addition, their daughter and son-in-law as well as their son and daughter-in-law have served our country in the U.S. Marine Corps.
For the first time, they are finding themselves with a need and Rich and I are desperate to help them.
The Curtin’s son Noah is a 19 year old spark plug. He is autistic, so he has some special needs that require unique attention. But to those of us who know him, Noah is just special. He is known for his million dollar smile and desire to try new things. Last year Rich taught him how to wakeboard and this year he won gold in the Special Olympics. But mostly he is known for his insatiable curiosity and his craving to learn. Last year, Noah completed high school and was very proud to graduate on time. For the last year he has been in a county program for those with special needs. Sadly there aren’t the resources to address individual needs through a program like that.
So, all of the people with special needs are lumped into one program, regardless of potential. In a nutshell, it’s just not tailored for a high achiever like Noah. There are a very small number of colleges in the state which offer programs for autistic students, but they are all private colleges and the costs are incredibly high. As you can imagine, the government doesn’t offer the same kinds of loan options to those with special needs as they do for students with a high income potential based on their major.
One of the colleges which offers a program for high achieving autistic students is Calvin College. Noah has applied and has been accepted for the fall semester and he is simply over the moon with excitement to get started. The cost is upwards of $25,000 with only $1,000 in financial aid available to them.
Rich and I have a goal to help Noah achieve his dream of going to college. Not only do we want to see his dreams come true, but we know that with this opportunity to reach his full education potential, this autistic young man can reach great heights and accomplish great things.
If you know Noah, you know what I’m talking about and I hope you can spare a little something to give him a hand. If you don’t know Noah but have a heart for a young man wanting to learn, please share what you can afford. Our goal is to raise $30,000. We have a benefactor who is willing to do a match up to $10,000. So that means that whatever you contribute is worth twice as much! School starts in 3 weeks so the need is urgent.
Please search your heart and if this is the right thing for you, please give today! I know Rich and I can speak for Noah and his family when we say we would be most grateful.
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- Jeff Curtin
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