Local school aims for change with new location

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

A few hundred people stood together outside on a blistering cold Tuesday morning, to share a very proud moment.

The Academy in Manayunk, known as AIM, now located in Whitemarsh Township. It's a non-profit teaching facility for children with learning disabilities.

The board chairman recollected on his own learning troubles.

"I struggled with dyslexia my whole entire life and as a board chair it's a real honor to be here with each and every one of the kids," said Matt Naylor.

AIM has more than doubled its space with the opening of the new building on River Road.

Donations and grants helped pay for the $3 million renovation on land that was once an old mill.

Parents say they couldn't be happier with the results.

"The move here has been incredible. It's a great facility, great programming and it's all research-based," said Page Buck.

The environment at AIM is extremely colorful but the more important thing is the visual and hands on learning experience.

AIM says its hands-on teaching philosophy has done wonders for students like Jake Villari.

He struggled with auditory processing disorder, now, he is getting scholarship offers from colleges.

"When we're learning about nature we'll go and look at the trees, and flowers to see them and figure out how they correlate," said Villari.

His parents agree and are well pleased with his improvement.

"If you want to talk just bottom line, he went from C grades to a 3.7 grade point average and no more fighting about homework," said Peter Villari.

AIM hopes to grow even more, including adding athletic fields to its campus along the Schuylkill River, coming a long way from its beginning six years ago.

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