Northshore Magazine

Northshore March 2019

Northshore magazine showcases the best that the North Shore of Boston, MA has to offer.

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81 MARCH 2019 CONTACT melmarkne.org Over the last 20 years, Melmark New England has been a game changer for the Smiths and many other families. Once the Smiths enrolled Nicky in Melmark, his transformation was amazing. "Nicky was happy to go to school for the first time in a very long time. He was making great progress," says Higgins-Smith. "He started doing things we never thought he would be able to do. He was toilet-trained almost imme- diately and began communicating through an iPad." When he turned 15, Nicky became a residential student. Like the Smiths, the Fair family of Georgetown sings the praises of Melmark New England. Brody is the middle of Kevin and Kimberly Fair's three children. e family was living in Hopedale when the preschool Brody attended hired a consultant from Melmark. Wanting only the best for their son, Kevin and Kimberly advocated for Brody to attend Melmark, and he enrolled as a day student at age seven. However, the long daily commute was taking a toll, so the Fairs moved to Georgetown to be closer to Melmark, which they call "a magical place." "Brody has had astounding cogni- tive growth since starting at Melmark ten years ago," says Kevin Fair. "e difference Melmark has made in our family's life can't be overstated. We owe everything to Melmark." Melmark New England co-founder Rita Gardner, who has been president and CEO of Melmark, Inc., since 2015, enthusiastically talks about expanding their mission to other areas of the country that do not have expert autism services. "We had just received the board's approval of our strategic plan when two former staff members working in North Carolina approached us about opening a school to meet the needs of children there," says Gardner. "We know we can make a difference for those children and look forward to opening our first classrooms in Charlotte, North Carolina, early next year." "There is a special relationship that develops when you afford a child the educational opportunity to become the best they can be," says Gardner. Higgins-Smith could not agree more, saying, "I can't begin to tell you how much our life has changed. Melmark saved our family." "ere is a special relationship that develops when you afford a child the educational opportunity to become the best they can be." —Rita Gardner, Melmark New England VOTE NOW! 14TH ANNUAL BEST OF THE NORTH SHORE BONS VOTING IS OPEN! Cast your ballot for your favorite burger, pizza, oyster bar, signature cocktail, salon, beach, brewery, date night, and more! Results will be announced in our August 2019 Northshore edition! nshoremag.com/bons-2019/

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