Ivymount Grows Up Alongside Its Students  

Eugenia Kim says of her son Van’s experience growing up alongside Ivymount, “As soon as he was ready for the next step, Ivymount School was always right there.” Staff like Lu Merrick, Director of our Post-High School and Project SEARCH programs, noticed students were advancing through Ivymount’s elementary and middle school programs without a similar program available for the next step. In response, Lu and parents like Eugenia advocated adding more programming to serve Ivymount students as they grew up.

Over the years, this meant adding a high school, a post-high school, and ultimately the Project SEARCH program to better prepare young adults for post-school life and employment.Van attended Ivymount for 18 years. “He totally grew up here.” said Eugenia. Van was the first person hired through Project SEARCH, and he has worked in his department at NIH for longer than almost any other employee.

Eugenia says his job in the Messenger and Transport Service, transporting specimens as well as collecting and repairing damaged equipment, has been ideal for Van’s love of routine and the vocational and social skill set he practiced while at Ivymount and in Project SEARCH.

“We are very blessed by his having a meaningful job, and a social life,” says his mom, including close friends he made through Project SEARCH and his work. “We’re so proud of him and we attribute it to what happened here at Ivymount …. It was another kind of home for him.”

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Former Ivymount and Project SEARCH student image

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