Samantha Carrroll’s upcoming graduation from The Guild School will be a bittersweet day for her parents, Dan and Lisa. The graduation ceremony will represent an opportunity to celebrate her myriad accomplishments, but also a time to bid goodbye to a community that has supported and encouraged Samantha for the last six years.

“The word that comes to mind to describe The Guild is ‘family,’ ” Dan says. “So many people at The Guild have become Samantha’s family, as important to her as her brother and sisters. Saying goodbye to such a kind group of people will be very difficult for us.”

To show their appreciation for all that The Guild has done for both their daughter and their family, the Carrolls recently made a generous gift to The Guild. The gift was matched by Dan’s employer, Microsoft.

“There is no way we could ever give back enough for what The Guild has given us, but we saw an opportunity to pay it back a little bit,” Dan explains. “I would encourage other parents and friends to give a donation to make these children’s lives a little bit better. There is nothing more rewarding than being part of something so beautiful.”

Gifts such as the Carrolls’ are vital as The Guild seeks to expand the impact of its work with youth and adults with intellectual disabilities. Gifts fund classroom technology, community-engagement activities and person-centered enrichment programming not paid for with tuition dollars. The Carrolls’ gift provided additional iPads for use in the classroom.

Families and friends are invited to join this year’s annual campaign and
make a gift by June 30. Gifts can be made online or by mail.

Samantha was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder at a very young age, and experts told the Carrolls to expect that her vocabulary would never exceed 10-20 words. Dan and Lisa refused to accept that determination and tried a number of programs for Samantha. They even wound up creating an extensive home program (40-50 hours per week) for her.

“It was never our intention to be providers, but we didn’t find the right fit for Samantha until we found The Guild. We knew she was capable of more,” Dan recalls.

According to Dan, The Guild helped bring Samantha “out of the world she wanted to be in” and into the wider world. She now has a vocabulary on par with an average high school student.

“The level of care from the teachers and the caregivers at the residence (Mulberry House) has been extraordinary,” he says. “It was a dream come true that The Guild could not only fulfill her needs in school but also in a residential setting. Our experience has been incomparable.”