RAIN offers after-school program for autistic students in Henric - NBC12.com - Richmond, VA News

RAIN offers after-school program for autistic students in Henrico

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HENRICO, VA (WWBT) -

There is a new school in Henrico County, and even though it just opened its doors this week, it is already making history. The school is called "RAIN", and its goal is to grow lasting relationships.

13-year-old Matthew Davis likes to unwind after school parked in front of a television in his favorite chair, watching his favorite shows.

"There's 'Adventure Time' and 'Teen Titans Go.' I think the shows are pretty good and action-packed," said Davis.

He finds a lot of action on and off the television screen here at the Richmond Autism Integration Network, better known as RAIN.

In fact, Matthew is the inspiration behind everything in this building.

"I was looking for some social activities for him and I just couldn't find anything specifically designed for children with autism," said RAIN executive director Robin Davis.

So, she came up with the non-profit organization two years ago. It started as a summer program, and now, it is an after school program which pairs those with special needs with volunteer students without special needs.

They do fun things together like take field trips, cook, and even create science projects.

This is the first after school program of its kind in Virginia.

"I can give instruction to a child with autism, but if their same-age peers do the same thing, they're like 'Oh, that's cool. I'll try it'," said program director Catherine Pall.

Bill Finch is thrilled that he will be able to send his daughter Ashley to a place where he says she is accepted and loved.

"When you have a kid with special needs, it's a pretty wilderness type experience sometimes. This place in an oasis," said Finch.

In this oasis, Davis hopes the students learn about acceptance, understanding, and patience.

RAIN is currently accepting students as well as student and adult volunteers. Visit the website for more information, or call 804-754-0000.

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