Nathan was born in Belgium, where he lived the first few years of his life. His family noticed he was not developing at the same pace of his peers. The medical community did not have many answers for them. In fact, they were told Nathan would not have much of a future.
The family felt more and more isolated as other families wouldn’t let their children play with Nathan. Some went so far as to suggest that Nathan’s disability was a curse.
Nathan’s family never gave up on him. They decided to move to America to seek a better life for him. It was in America where doctors finally knew what made Nathan unique from his peers: he was on the autism spectrum.
The family settled in Butler County, Ohio, where a series of Breakthrough Moments would significantly impact Nathan, his family, and his future employment.
“I was living in the darkness. Tears every day. Now in America, I cannot cry anymore. I get my joy,” Nathan’s mother Therese explained.
Nathan first became part of the Easterseals family through Project SEARCH. He enrolled in Project SEARCH and completed an internship for workplace readiness and skills development at Atrium Medical Center through Butler Tech. Easterseals job coaches provide the employment supports for all Project SEARCH sites throughout Greater Cincinnati.
Nathan’s family immediately saw changes. He was more talkative and much more focused when completing tasks. “We were amazed. He was another man. He was changed,” said Nathan’s father.
“When I met Nathan he had so much potential, that I knew when I met him, that he could go and he could do anything and that he could achieve anything,” Symmes Service Coordinator Angela Vantrease said.
“He wasn’t ready at that point. It was walking through and developing his the skills. He just continued to stair climb. He gradually developed skills and he continued to,” she added of Nathan’s progress.
Nathan continued to develop his work skills through Easterseals Work & Grow and in community-based employment programs. As he completed each program, his family gained more confidence to keep going.
Nathan now works at Tennant Packaging, where he is flourishing.
“He has been such an asset to our company in so many ways,” said Vice President of Operations Alexandra Tennant. “Now, he’s one of our employees and that started with the support he got at Easterseals through Angela and what she was able to do and the rest of the team there of getting them support for Nathan.”
“It is a transformation in my son. I’m happy. I’m a happy [mom] to see my son like he is now,” his mother said.
“Easterseals helped Nathan to be able to do something in the community and be able to work,” his father added.
Nathan is also grateful for the support he received here in the United States through Easterseals.
“I feel that I am somebody. That I am able to change the world by helping others. Thank you Easterseals, you did a good job on me,” he said.
Nathan's mother, Therese, got in touch with us after the Brighter Futures Celebration and shared how their family oversees is amazed to see Nathan's progress.
"They don't believe Nathan can be who he is now," Therese said. "From the beginning, he didn't know how to speak. Now he has a job. I cannot describe. Everyone is so joyful. So happy, very happy."
Your gifts to Easterseals allow us to develop more innovative programs to guide people on the journey to self-sufficiency and employment. In 2018, the collective earnings of those served by Easterseals totaled nearly $11 million! That is money that is being reinvested back into Greater Cincinnati businesses and into our community.
Be the Breakthrough Moment for someone in our community looking for their opportunity to experience the pride of employment.