By Mike Barnhardt
Karli Fuller is scared. And excited.
She’ll be attending Western Carolina University in the fall – part of a two-year program designed to help these special students to become independent and learn communication skills.
The feeling is the same for her sister, Morgan, and parents, John and Anike Fuller.
“The program is so strong, we’re excited about that,” said mom Anike. “We were on a Zoom call … and the other parents assured us she would be safe and do great.”
She is still narrowing her choices for classes, but most on campus are available. She will have a peer supporter in every class. Her schedule will be busy. There’s even a class on how to deal with college life.
For the first time, Western is accepting eight students into the program. Previously, it was four. There are some 280 student volunteers who serve as peers.
Karli will live on campus in a dormitory, and must work 10 hours a week. She’s interested in fashion, and now works part-time for Kennedy & Co. Boutique in Mocksville.
Their graduates have a 90 percent success rate in finding and hold a job after college.
“We’ve always thought about Karli being out on her own,” Anike said.
“It’s pretty amazing because they’ve got 12-14 students and they’ve got 280 students volunteers,” said dad, John.
While they’re thankful there are programs in North Carolina for students like Karli, the demand for spots on the campuses are far greater than the availability.
“We want what she wants to accomplish,” John said. “This will help her understand what she wants to do.”