Mary Beth Bobek, PharmD, MBA
TFNC President & Board Chair
Hello and Welcome to Transitions Foundation of North Carolina (TFNC)!
We are a nonprofit post-secondary support program helping students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) transition from secondary education to adult life. Our mission is to prepare autistic students with the skills necessary to maintain quality of life, while being contributing members of their communities.
As a parent founder and current Board Chair of TFNC, I know the effects of autism first-hand. When my son, Ryan, was diagnosed with autism at age three, my husband and I were devastated. But with the help of the public system services and lots of hard work he was mainstreamed in classes and successful.
For parents with children nearing high school graduation, however, finding what’s next for your child can incite panic. It did for me.
As Ryan neared the end of his sophomore year at a traditional public high school, I realized that the expert teachers, resources and services offered there would soon end. Then what?
That’s when I decided to put my master of business administration degree from UNC-Chapel Hill to work by starting a non-profit to help bridge this gap. By a higher power, I was introduced to two extraordinary and brilliant teachers who had been thinking the same for several years. Together with program co-founders Monica Herrick and Meredith Moates – both veteran teachers specializing in autism – and with support from host institution Cape Fear Community College (CFCC), we formally launched Transitions Foundation in 2017.
Scholarship opportunities are available for students with autism who are eligible to receive post-secondary support services through TFNC. And for those who have generously donated to our cause, we thank you beyond words!
I invite you to explore our program and encourage your questions. And we look forward to helping your student transition to college and employment – prepared, confident and independent – to life’s next step.
Sonia Johnson, BAFM
TFNC Chief Financial Officer
I believe strongly in the mission of TFNC. You could say it’s in the genes, as my sister is Monica Herrick, TFNC founder and administrative director. The skills and talents ASD students bring to the workplace are amazing – our job at TFNC is to help spotlight and refine these skills and talents, so potential employers see the value. Our aim is to support each student so they can make the critical transition between the post-secondary world and everyday life, including a job and meaningful career. My part as TFNC’s CFO is to steward the valuable resources that get our students to a career that allows for a happy, productive life.
Meredith M. Moates, PhD(c)
TFNC Executive Director of Curriculum
At Transitions Foundation, we believe in self-determination. We use a Self-Determined Learning Model of Instruction (SDLMI) designed to enable educators to teach students to become causal agents in their own lives and teach them self-directed learning. We believe that our population of students will be successful when given a purposeful education that prepares them for all the benefits and responsibilities of later life.
Decision-making also plays a key role in our curriculum. Many of our students come from backgrounds where for most of life others have made decisions for them. As adults, they’ll need to make decisions – confident decisions – on their own to navigate the world around them.
Our unique partnership and proximity to Cape Fear Community College allows us to have a real-time, post-secondary environment where our students can achieve success and face challenge.
As a veteran teacher and Ph.D. candidate specializing in students with autism, I can tell you this kind of exposure is critical to stimulate growth. Transitions Foundation is the anchor that gives students with autism a solid, safe and predictable place to fulfill their potential and live a full life.
Monica Herrick, M.Ed.
TFNC Executive Director of Administration
Students who participate in our program depart as confident, independent people. We teach them the skills to become part of community, including, and most importantly, finding lifelong employment. For many of our students, the gap between high school and adult life can be slippery, if not altogether perilous. But that’s where we help.
The most satisfying moments in our work are the “growth moments,” when we see our students excel socially or academically.
When they initiate conversation with peers, it’s a good day.
When they exhibit interest in a topic and pursue it with self-determination, it’s a good day.
When we see a vocation and interest start to blossom, it’s a good day.
Part of the Transitions mission is also to connect our students with opportunities for internships and other similar kinds of work that may lead to permanent employment. Giving students with autism real-world, real-time experiences allows them constant feedback in which they have to respond.
We are committed to our students and their formation – and we hope your student can join us!