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Virtual Hope


Information On Our Program

Often, middle- and high school students on the autism spectrum have the ability to work towards a high school diploma but fail to do so in mainstream classrooms because they are overwhelmed by social and organizational demands.  On the other hand, their academic needs are often not met in the traditional self-contained classroom track in which they graduate with a certificate but not a diploma.   Finding an appropriate placement is challenging since many children with autism are able to progress well in one particular subject but not in others.  Project HOPE Foundation’s Virtual Hope program is now piloting a GED option, a credential accepted by 96% of employers in lieu of a diploma.  In this program, we can focus on one subject area at a time to promote success.  Additionally, students’ academic work is augmented with direct instruction in important “soft skills” – communication, teamwork, adaptability, problem-solving, etc. – and life skills to enhance independence.

The Virtual Hope classroom model has been funded in part by Greenville Women Givingthe Barbara Stone Foundation, and theSouth Carolina Developmental Disabilities Council.

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Facilitator: Gary Teska

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I am originally from Ann Arbor, MI, and graduated from the University of Michigan with a Masters in Mechanical Engineering.  My career has included working at Michelin Tire and IBM as an Engineer, Computer Specialist, and Manager.  I have performed volunteer work with the Greenville Literacy Association teaching young adults working towards their GED.  I also was involved with Youth Ministry for over 10 years.  I love working with teenagers and young adults and am thrilled to be part of the Hope Foundation family.

In my spare time I enjoy photography, being a husband, and a father of two.