Hidden Treasures Academy Executive Director Tracy Lewis walked into a church seven years ago.

She saw a young man by the name of Joshua sitting on the back row with his mother. Joshua made very little eye contact and seemed socially withdrawn as Lewis interacted with his mother.

Feeling like Hidden Treasures Academy would be a good fit for Joshua, a member of that church volunteered to provide financial assistance for him to attend the school. Joshua has grown significantly as a student at Hidden Treasures Academy. In fact, he has become a leader among his peers and recently shared his testimony before a crowd of 300 participants.

“When I was three years old, I was diagnosed with autism. The doctors told my mom that I would be unstable with the world, I wouldn’t be social or able to be independent because of my disability.

“As an adult, I have showed them wrong.

“Now, I am very social, and I currently have two part-time jobs. I started my first job in September 2014 at Carson-Newman University. I work in the cafeteria. My favorite thing about working there is working in the dish room and getting to meet new people.

“I started my second part-time job in November 2016 at Team Technologies in Morristown. My favorite thing about working at Team Technologies is getting to work with new products. With the paychecks I earn at Carson-Newman and Team Technologies, I save money, pay my own cell phone bill and I help my mom with our household bills. It makes me feel independent to be able to work and earn my own money. I’m very thankful to be a student at Hidden Treasures Academy, and I am really happy where I am right now.”

Not only is Joshua a productive citizen within the community, he is now a greeter at his church and uses his love for technology to serve as a member of their media team. Joshua was able to discover the “hidden treasures” or gifts he has inside because someone saw value in him and invested in his destiny.

As the school year is ending, Hidden Treasures Academy is using this time to seek scholarship assistance for the fall. Area support empowers adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities to lead more productive and fulfilling lives within the Lakeway Area.

A gift of any size can be part of matching funds to create scholarship opportunities for students with financial needs.

• $2500 Provides a full scholarship or up to 5 partial scholarships for a semester

• $750 Provides a month of tuition assistance for up to 3 students

• $200 Provides a week of tuition assistance for up to 3 students

• $66.67 Provides a week of tuition for one student

Checks can be mailed to Hidden Treasures Academy, P.O. Box 237, Jefferson City, TN 37760.