This month, you’ll meet Bobby Jividen, our Academic Director. Bobby has been with NDFYA for many years and he is a is a key component of our leadership team. He has pretty much worked in all of the non-clinical positions at NDFYA from entry level to operations director. He is always willing to help out with any problem any of our student (or staff) faces. As an added bonus, he has great technical skills and is our go-to person for our best notes client software.
Why New Directions for Young Adults?
I started working at NDFYA straight out of college. We were a very small program at the time so I did a little of everything. Cooking group, movie night, LMS, and of course tutoring. I did not know it at the time but my job at New Directions would grow to become the job I always wanted. A job centered around helping people. Helping our clients become well-rounded adults that can thrive in the real world and independently support themselves.
What is the focus of your work at NDFYA?
I am the Academic Director. I help students achieve whatever academic goal they have set for themselves. Many of our students attend college while they are in our program. I help them pick and register for their class, help them navigate the often difficult process of receiving accommodations for their disabilities, as well as guide them through their college career. If college is not the right fit, I help guide the client to the vocational program that meets their needs.
What’s the best part of your work?
Most of my time is spent tutoring and it is truly my favorite part of the job. Teaching is one of the greatest ways you can impact someones life for the better and I get to do it everyday. It is very fulfilling. Most of the time I am tutoring developmental or freshman level Algebra. This is not a course that many people enjoy so my daily goal is to teach the core concept of Algebra to my students without boring them to death.
What’s your most memorable NDFYA experience?
My role at New Directions lends towards many chances to achieve small successes. Every week someone gets an “A” on a test or good comments back from their professor on a paper they struggled with. I also get the chance to witness the joy a student feels when they pass their first college class. My most memorable of these moments is when we had a new student start that had dropped out of high school. He had great potential but had always struggled throughout his academic career. His parents were not that optimistic about his ability to turn it around. I enrolled him in a local GED program. He spent his morning in that program and his afternoons in our office studying. Math was his worst subject so I got to work very closely with him. We worked very hard to solidify the concepts he was learning. Sure enough he passed the GED on his first attempt. This was only 4 months after he started our program. Now this young man is a successful college student.
How has NDFYA impacted your life?
It has most definitely made me a better person. I feel that working with people on the Autism spectrum can sometimes require a great deal of patience and empathy. Conversely, some of our clients often have a short supply of patience and empathy for the people that work with them. This can be very frustrating for some people but working at New Directions has taught me the skill of being able to help people to the best of my ability even when the person I am helping is not going to show me how much they appreciate what I am doing for them.
What is your favorite activity outside of the work?
Not sure if I have just one. I love going to the beach, reading and going to sporting events. I really love going on road trips with my wife and discovering new places.