Their Voice: Much ado about something

Left to right: Leanne Teske, Nicholas Poll, Taylor Luna, Liz Ault, Sam Coons and Dominic Sodergren perform in ScenicView Academy's performance of "Much Ado About Nothing."

I have learned in writing this column how determined parents of children with disabilities can be when it comes to the welfare of their child. We often hear stories of miraculous things that parents do physically when they know their child is in danger, but there are also many things that parents do when they anticipate a need.

One such miraculous event involved a parent in 1999 who was looking for a perfect place for her son with learning disabilities. She was looking in particular for a facility that would be committed to seeing her son improve while encouraging a clean, uplifting lifestyle. Gathering with a group of other interested families and professionals, she created what is now ScenicView Academy in Provo.

You would never guess the humble beginnings of ScenicView if you see it now with buildings that include two eight-plex apartment buildings, a shared living apartment building, a commons building, a green house and a community center serving the education programs of the academy, as well as community activities and is currently supporting 54 residents and 16 day students from across the United States. What is even more astounding is that the entire landscaping, custodial, kitchen and maintenance work is being provided by the students.

ScenicView Academy has some very impressive core values by which the operate. They state that “People with learning disabilities can learn” adding “that we must focus on their strengths not their deficits.” Other core values include “growth requires hope,” “never be satisfied,” and “we will change the world” to name a few.

They also are committed to helping students with autism and learning disabilities achieve goals in eight “Balance of Life” areas: creative, educational, emotional, social, vocational, independent living, physical and spiritual. 

On Oct. 24 from 6 to 8 p.m. ScenicView Academy will be hosting its annual Gala to help raise funds for their nonprofit organization. Money raised at the gala goes toward student scholarships. The night of “Octoberfun” is being held on the school’s campus located at 5455 N. River Run Drive, Provo.

The fun begins with hors d’oeuvres and a silent auction featuring food items (including homemade baked goods), entertainment (tickets for concerts, plays, movies), jewelry, health and beauty products donated by Morinda and NuSkin, recreation (sports equipment, games, zipline outings), collector items such as coin collections, framed artwork, and gift baskets. Dinner follows at 7 p.m. and, at 7:30 a live auction featuring local celebrity Clint McIntosh begins.

Many local residents come to bid on whitewater adventures, Moab Jeep safaris, mini vacations including condos or cabins, and a professionally-crafted quilt. In the past a bidding “war” fetched a healthy sum for a University of Utah-themed quilt. This year, the quilt will bear either a BYU or UVU motif. Local companies have donated high-priced items, such as a complete men’s suit from Mr. Mac and an extension ladder from Little Giant Ladder.

Traditionally, the concluding feature of the live auction has been bidding on several cookie bouquets, which raises money for specific purposes. From this the school was able to purchase a stair stepper for recreational therapy classes, band instruments for music courses, plus sod and a pavilion for the field.

In the past, the school’s atrium and multi-purpose room brimmed with new and returning guests, whose participation has resulted in very successful events. But the auction items are not the only attraction for the fundraiser.

This year chef Gerardo Castillo, his staff and student workers are preparing a menu which will feature a choice of strip loin medallions glazed with a rich balsamic vinegar sauce or stuffed chicken breast in a fontina cheese sauce, plus grilled asparagus, mashed potatoes, salad and dinner rolls. Dessert will be headlined by lemon tarts and triple chocolate cake. Hors d’oeuvres and dinner are prepared and served by students who are receiving food service training. 

To RSVP and purchase tickets for the event, go to http://www.svacademy.org/gala.

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