Ryan and Liz Wright were in “crisis mode” when they first approached VIA. Their middle child, Charlie, struggled in school and had labeled himself “the bad kid.”

“He thought, ‘I’m just the bad kid, I go to school and do something bad.’ You could tell he wanted to connect with students so badly but didnt know how,” said Liz.

“VIA gives people a place and voice to feel successful,” said Ryan. “Charlie always called himself the bad kid, but now he says, ‘I’m not the bad kid, I just needed to learn how to act appropriately.’”

The teachers and behavior technicians provided both Charlie and his family with an increased level of confidence, he continued. “We didn’t know what we didn’t know.”

Charlie transitioned to public middle school last spring, but the Wrights know that VIA will continue to be a resource and support throughout Charlie’s school years through VIA’s School Coaching & Consultation Services.

“VIA told us, Charlie is off our books in the day school, but he’s not off our books until he’s successful in public school,” said Liz.

Liz said Charlie had internalized being “the bad kid” for years and struggled with confidence in school and social settings.

“He wasn’t appreciated by his teachers and couldn’t gain confidence to connect with other kids,” she said. “You could tell there was a toleration and not an appreciation. About a month after starting VIA, you could see his confidence boosting. His teachers were actually excited to see him, versus ‘Ugh, here comes Charlie for the day.’ It was amazing to see this quick turnaround.”

Charlie, now a sixth grader, is a straight A student who adapted to homework and testing with relative ease. His parents reported he knew how to behave in his new school setting and has made friends.

Charlie has an older sister and a younger brother who also benefited from VIA’s services, namely the Sibling Support Program.

“The siblings feel really special,” said Liz. “They feel a part of something too. VIA’s family approach includes having these things for his brother and sister. They understand Charlie isn’t someone we treat in isolation.”

“[There was a] huge impact with the teachers and faculty at VIA who do more than just look out for the kids–they look out for the whole family,” continued Ryan. “[VIA] impacted the life not only of Charlie but his brother and sister, his mom and dad. We’re not doing this by ourselves.”

“[With VIA] it’s not just about the student, but the family regaining the ability to feel more like a family,” said Liz. “I remember Hilary Nagel talking to us on one of our tours and saying there’s other families you can connect with—this is just all very isolating. That was one of the biggest comforts, knowing they really wanted to take care of us as a whole.”

“We can’t give VIA a high enough endorsement with their services,” said Ryan. “We would not hesitate to send him to VIA again. It’s been so transformative.”