SPECIAL FOR THE AJT //

David Flink, Eye to Eye’s co-founder and Chief Empowerment Officer.

David Flink, Eye to Eye’s co-founder and Chief Empowerment Officer.

Through the oversight of Georgia Tech’s ADAPTS Disability Services Programs, the local Eye to Eye chapter is changing the view of learning disabilities (LD), one student mentorship at a time.

Founded in 1998 by Brown University students labeled as LD / ADHD, the focus of the Eye to Eye organization has been on pairing students in college and high school with other similarly labeled students in middle and elementary school.

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The connection to Georgia Eye to Eye that co-founder and Chief Empowerment Officer David Flink has is a deeply personal one: he attended Greenfield Hebrew Academy in Sandy Springs, Ga., where his mother, Vicki Flink, still teaches.

Flink is very excited to bring the national program to Atlanta.

“Eye to Eye activity, beginning with a mentor, creates a ripple,” Flink said. “Young leaders grow to serve as Think Different Diplomats, and then go on to impact broader layers of the community, over time reaching into the highest levels of government and corporations.

“As we celebrate 15 years this year, we can see remarkable things have happened. Even other people who haven’t experienced different ways of learning themselves know someone who has struggled because of these labels. We are firmly committed to our role in changing the conversation about learning differently.”

In Atlanta, the Georgia Tech Eye to Eye chapter is partnered with The Howard School at 1192 Foster Street. Through art projects, weekly meetings are hosted in a special space – a comfortable, safe environment where youth can freely share their stories, while learning about their abilities and building life skills and self esteem.

By sharing time with their peers, younger kids see firsthand the successes of their older counterparts and are inspired to continue their academic journey through and beyond high school.

To prepare to lead the Georgia Tech and other Eye to Eye local chapters across the U.S. for the year, over 150 students spent a week at Brown University at Eye to Eye’s biggest  annual event, the Young Leaders Organizing Institute.

In the company of others who share their labels, young leaders found out more about what a “Shoulder to Learn On” represents and heard from national leaders including Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet.

Actor Alan Alda also became involved this year, through his interest in his grandchild’s dyslexia.

Widespread public attention was drawn to the organization this year by a group of five college students who literally drove cross-country with the LD / ADHD STRIKE OUT STIGMA NATIONAL TOUR from San Francisco to Providence, R.I., with hosted stops in key cities.

Eye to Eye features a speakers’ bureau – Think Different Diplomats – with current mentors, recent graduates and the organization’s executive team who visit schools, universities and conferences to share their individual stories and change minds about what is possible with LD / ADHD.

At a glance

Eye to Eye helps students in the over 50 chapters throughout the U.S. find support and encouragement to pursue the path they choose. For additional details and information, visit www.eyetoeyenational.org.

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