Saint Joseph’s University is populated with some remarkable people. There’s incredibly talented up and coming players on the basketball team, and the dedicated mascots that cheer them on. The students at our university have the opportunities to start a career, even before graduation. Some of the most incredible people work selflessly on campus at The Kinney Center.

The Kinney Center supports families and individuals with autism, and helps them develop into career-ready professionals. Staffed by students known as “scholars,” they work one on one with Autistic individuals. We interviewed a few scholars to see what makes the Kinney Center so great, and to understand why they chose to do this.

Elizabeth Devenney is a special elementary education major, and wound up choosing Saint Joseph’s because of The Kinney Center. She was referenced by a family friend, and ended up falling in love with it.

“I love it when I walk through the doors; the staff, scholars, and Learners alway greet you. It is like a second home on campus,” she said.

Devenney actually began working at the Kinney Center before her freshman year of college. She was able to observe the program, and then become fully admitted.

Similar to Devenney, Caroline Walsh, a junior, also started working before her freshman year. She worked at The Kinney Center’s apprentice program, but this was not a major change for her. Walsh worked at a YMCA adaptive program for special needs children. This program influenced her to start working for the Kinney Center.

“I really loved working with these kids… I knew I had to work there to improve my skills and help these awesome kids,” she said.

For many of the scholars, helping people with Autism is personal to them. Blaire Adkins is an autism behavior studies major, and chose to get involved because her best friend and brother both have Autism. Another scholar, Erin O’Connor, got involved late in her freshman year because she loves seeing the progress of her learners.

The Kinney Center assists in setting apart our school and making Saint Joseph’s unique. With The Kinney Center comes the scholars that work effortlessly to help so many people every day. The Kinney Center also offers ways to get involved and support them, as they run entirely off donations. The scholars that turn a place into a home for so many deserve recognition, for this campus is filled with remarkable people, and what the scholars do is truly remarkable.

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