Vanderheyden Oktoberfest 2017 ›

Meet Jason - 'Make the Best Of It'

Jason was a resident of Cottage 5 in 1991 for about a year and a half and a resident of Vanderheyden’s Supervised Independent Living Program for another year. Now married for thirteen years with three children, Jason has had time to reflect on his years at Vanderheyden, the life lessons he learned, and the adults who cared about him, both on campus and at school.

While at Vanderheyden, Jason attended Troy High School. A math teacher there, Mrs. Vargas, had a huge impact on Jason's life. She taught him to love numbers and the math skills he gained lay the foundation for his future career as CPA.  At Vanderheyden, two men made a big impression on Jason. Paul was the house manager for Cottage 5 when Jason lived there. About Paul, Jason says, "He was the best staff to have and a whole bunch of fun." Jason also recalls that Dion Petteys was a great source of positive influence, always “preaching all the good that the kids could do in their lives.”

"You never heard anything negative from the staff," Jason concludes.

While living at Vanderheyden, Jason learned basic life skills that still guide his life today. He continues to be a "neat freak" and does all the cooking for his family.

What Jason misses most about his time at Vanderheyden are the camping trips, playing on the softball team, and playing basketball in the gym. One of his greatest memories of childhood is of playing basketball with then-future NBA star, Lamar Odom.

After graduating from Troy High School, and moving on from Vanderheyden, Jason attended Union College, eventually becoming a CPA. He is currently an independent consultant who own two homes and travels all over the United States for work.

Of the former classmates and roommates Jason has kept in touch with, he feels that those who put in the work at Vanderheyden were able to build normal adult lives. Jason's advice to the resident's of Vanderheyden: Take what you can get and make the best out of it.