Monday, November 5, 2007

Journeys School Aid Concert. Jeff

Journeys School Aid Concert

Friday, November 2, 2007

B5, Danny Wood, Jeff Timmons and other top 40 musical acts will rock the house at the Germain Arena starting in January for the Journeys Academy School Aid Concert Series.'

MTV’s Derrick Kosinski, of Road Rules, will host the concert, which is a first-ever fund-raiser for the small, Naples-based, special education school.

“We have not raised a penny in fund-raising,” administrator Larry Christopher said.

The school, which was founded in 1999, caters to students with specific learning disabilities such as AD/HD, autism, gifted, Down syndrome, Williams syndrome, Aspergers, output disorders, and deficits in reading, math and writing. Most of the money to run the school is provided by private donations.

“They’ve got some really good teachers,” parent Cheri Boedeker said. Her daughter Brenna, 13, has been a student at Journeys Academy for four years on a scholarship. “They know that every child has a disability and they work with that disability. They take their strengths and they work with that.”

Licensed psychologist Dr. Loren Hoffman established the school with one student and one tutor. By the time the school had more than 10 students, it broadened out to form the academy. Now the academy has about 40 students, with a waiting list of interested pupils.

“I’d work two jobs; three jobs to keep my daughter there,” Boedeker said.

The school’s mission is to design a learning environment that prepares students for life’s challenges and independent functioning in society. At Journeys Academy classrooms are built one student at a time, matching the learning profiles of each student.

“When you can be yourself, learning happens,” Christopher said.

Each classroom has no more than about six students to each teacher and students receive individualized instruction and daily social skills.

“We want to be the very best of our kind,” Christopher said.

Journeys has seven classrooms, ranging from elementary school level to high school level. The academy wants to expand its walls to accommodate a growing waiting list, but first on their list of priorities is starting up a teacher endowment.

“We have to bring them up to a living wage,” Christopher said.

The second priority of fund-raising is to increase scholarship funds for future and current students.

“The concert is just going to open up all kinds of doors,” Hoffman said. “The key is keeping good teachers.”

Corporate sponsorships are available, as well as individual ticket sales.

“The concert will unite the school. They’ll know it’s for them,” Hoffman said.

Contact Journeys Academy Administrator Larry Christopher at 593-5535.