October 31, 2018

William Green has been named The New England Center for Children’s Outstanding Alumnus of the Year. This award is bestowed upon NECC alumni who demonstrate inspiring personal, vocational and/or academic achievement. Will is 23-years-old and was a student at NECC from 2003 to 2017, and today works full-time at Whole Foods. The award will be presented at NECC’s annual Children of Promise Gala, to be held on Friday, November 30 at the InterContinental Boston. (www.necc.org/gala)

“Will’s story inspires hope in families and teachers alike, demonstrating the power of applied behavior analysis in transforming the lives of children with autism,” said Vincent Strully, President and CEO of The New England Center for Children. “We are all very proud of Will’s achievements and couldn’t be happier to honor him as our outstanding alumnus this year.”

Will enrolled in NECC as a preschooler and continued as a day student throughout his schooling. At NECC, Will made great strides in behavior and education through applied behavior analysis. He enjoyed participating in research studies on autism, including such topics as telling time, eye movement, and computers. Will was particularly fond of the EdMark reading program.

“We are very proud of Will and how he has grown these past years with the help of the talented staff and teachers at The New England Center for Children,” said Charles Green, Will’s father. “We are excited and honored for Will to be recognized for his hard work, progress, and success,” added Pam Green, Will’s mother.

At age 14, Will started vocational training at NECC, focusing on food service, including lunch line, making PB&J sandwiches, and stocking milk at the school. Through NECC’s Vocational Program, Will was hired at Walgreens to stock shelves and train as a cashier. By the time he left Walgreen’s, Will was performing both job duties, including opening the register on his own during peak busy hours. 

Will took initiative in pursuing a job at Whole Foods, his favorite supermarket where he has long shopped with his mother. Will brought a flyer from Whole Foods to the NECC Vocational Program team. NECC helped arrange an interview, practiced with Will, and he was hired in 2016.

“Thank you for this award, and to my teachers and people I work with,” said Will. “I look forward to work. I like doing things myself.”

Will received a “Best Customer Service” Star Team player award at Whole Foods and is well-regarded by fellow employees, who threw him a surprise anniversary party. One day a week Will attends Beaverbrook Step, a day rehabilitation program where he assists in the Meals on Wheels program.

Will is learning how to take the train and his town’s door-to-door bus service. He enjoys mowing the lawn, bowling, walking his family dog, Lily, attending church and helping with the collection plate, and playing Zumba. He is friends with fellow NECC graduates.

For the full press release, click here.