Success Stories

Hear how VIP has helped students and their families in their own words:

My NYIT/VIP Experience
(as told to the Class of 2015 on their first day)

First, I would like to thank Dean Ernst, the entire faculty, counselors and everyone who was involved in giving me the opportunity to share my experiences by speaking to all of you this morning about the New York Institute of Technology's Vocational Independence Program. We can refer to the program as VIP. And that is what you are here, a VIP. A Very Important Person. But you have got to get involved, and participate in as many activities as you can to get the most out of what the program has to offer.

I want to start by telling you about my experiences at the VIP program. I had experiences like at no other time in my life. To me, being a part of this program was being an independent adult and having college responsibilities. This is not high school. You are responsible for yourself. The faculty and staff are here to help you and they helped me a lot, but you are an adult and you will be expected to act like an adult. That means deciding when to go to bed, when to wake up, if you eat, what you eat, washing your clothes, cleaning your room and everything that goes along with being an independent adult. Being in the VIP program makes you feel like an independent adult, which is why you are part of the VIP program.

You are learning to become an independent person—how to make your own choices, what classes to take, when to do your homework, when to read the assignments, what to do with your spare time, who to hang out with, how to plan your free time, how to search for jobs and how to find a place to live after your three years at the Vocational Independence Program. My first day at this program was like anyone's first day at college. I had no idea what was going on, where I was going, where I was going to live, who would be my friends, who were my teachers. I was lost. I did not have a friend in the world here. I had no idea who anyone was or where they came from.

After being here for just one week I had already made friends, knew the teachers and some of the counselors. I knew about the campus, learned where Target was, where you got anything you needed and, of course, where the cafeteria was. Being at the VIP Program, I learned many things and gained many experiences, one of them, the best of them, was learning to become independent. Coming to this program made me realize the importance of getting up on time, going to bed at the right time, studying, getting my assignments done on time, washing my clothes and basically taking care of myself. If I didn't eat when the cafeteria was open I was not going to eat.

The second year I took a class in Hospitality Management and got an internship at the Hilton Garden Inn. I worked in every aspect of the hotel. From room service, working as a busboy, working in the kitchen, being a house man, even working at the front desk. I had to figure out how to get there, how to dress, how to land the job, how to speak to my supervisors and my co-workers. At NYIT'S VIP I learned how to manage a bank account, and keep track of my checkbook and most importantly the checkbook register. And the last thing that really helped me was learning a bit about cooking and safety in the kitchen. I felt that these were the most important experiences that I gained being here. Activities were my favorite part about being at the Vocational Independence Program. But to have that kind of experience you have got to get involved and participate. If you stay in your room sleeping as some of my friends did, you will not reap the benefits of VIP. Every weekend we would have different activities to go on and at night sometimes we went to the movies. The activities usually consisted of carnivals, city trips, basketball, and baseball and hockey games.

There is not one activity that I would give up if I were to come back; I truly recommend that you take the opportunity to go on the activities and participate. Did any of you see the stadium to the side of the dormitory, Heritage Hall? Do you know what that is? It is a baseball stadium; the home of the great Long Island Ducks, one of the best minor league—the only minor league team—I ever saw. One of the best things that I enjoyed was the Long Island Ducks game. I highly recommend going to one or more. It is easy and fun. It is right there, a block away. The VIP program taught me what the meaning of independence was, how to shop on my own, how to make my own meals and how to manage my own money. After being at the VIP program, I really find that it helped me tremendously, with my independence and my responsibilities of being an adult. I am now working full-time at the Hilton Miami Downtown, in the Banquet Set-Up Department, and I am receiving full benefits, and receiving a paycheck every two weeks.

To the new students I would like to end by just saying take advantage of everything this program has to offer, have fun, and enjoy your college experience at NYIT/VIP.

Justin Tejera
Miami, Florida

My NYIT/VIP Experience

When I first arrived at VIP as a Freshman I was a bit nervous. I didn't know any of the students. I was hoping to make new friends, and so I did. After moving in and going to the orientation with the new Freshmen I felt more relaxed and enjoyed making new friends. Socializing and doing fun activities with them made me know I will always keep in contact with them when we go our separate ways after we graduate.

VIP has changed my life and taught me how to be an adult. I have learned how to keep my living space clean and neat and I have been able to do that on my own. I learned how to cook my own meals and about kitchen safety so I can keep myself safe from harm. Banking and Budget class taught me how to manage my own checking account and to be careful about how much money to use for spending which I will need in my independent life. I also now know how to do my own laundry and how to use mass transportation like the Long Island Railroad. I have become more mature and have focused on my internship job at Modell's Sporting Goods. I have learned how to stay positive, not worry so much, and take everything one step at a time.

I feel very proud and amazed at what I have accomplished at VIP.

Adam Shapiro
Class of 2013

It seems such a simple and obvious need: a post-secondary school where a student can grow academically, enjoy a rich social life, and prepare for an independent future. Those of us whose children have learning disabilities know how complicated and frustrating it is to find the right place for our kids. For our son, David, VIP is the right place.

David, now a sophomore at VIP, has become a confident young man with a large circle of friends. He enjoys his classes and his teachers while being challenged to achieve his academic potential. His advisors know and understand him, and they provide guidance based on reality, kindness, and humor. His vocational training gives him substantive real-life experience to complement his classwork.

David is flourishing at VIP; his increased maturity and happiness are obvious to all who know him. He is proud of being away at college. His path may not be identical to that of his brothers, but he's going in the same direction.

Lois Frischling and Jerry Miller

VIP helped me so much in moving on and getting over some traumatic things, and in becoming the person I am today. Without the friends I made last year and this year, I don't know what I would do. The job now I am working at makes me feel like I belong. It makes me happy.

Joseph Fiesel, '08
Commack , NY.

I've never had the kind of support that I have had at VIP. My parents have seen a tremendous change in my self-confidence. I was never really motivated before, but at VIP, I was on student council, helped run some dances, and started a women's group. Now I am a part of Student Contacts, reaching out to freshmen and sharing my experiences at VIP. At VIP, I've found lifetime friends who inspire me to accomplish all the things I want.

Joy Jordan, '07
Chicago, Ill.

I learned so much from being at VIP and made the best friends of my life. I've learned how to succeed in academics and finally am able to understand what is going on in class. VIP classes are really set for each student's needs. It is one of the only places I feel I can be myself and not have to hide who I am. The teachers are wonderful. They are always willing to help you and make time even if you don't have them. If I didn't come here, I don't know where I would be.

Nicole Sprenger, '08
Needham , Mass.

VIP has done so much for me in so many ways. Thanks to this program, I am able to balance my checkbook and maintain my check register by myself. I am able to cook and am able to learn how to become a better cook for myself. My social life has done a complete 180-degree turn, thanks to this program and all of its social activities. The staff here cares so much and is so responsive to your needs. It is so nice to know they care about you. It's just amazing. I am so grateful for this program. I love it. Thank you, VIP.

Amy Newville
East Meadow, N.Y.

VIP has meant a whole lot to me. It has helped be become a better learner and a terrific writer. VIP has also helped me because of RA Damian. RA Damian was always there for me when I needed him and he has also made me become better at my laundry. By enforcing rules at VIP, you can think and learn from your mistakes. Accepting your mistakes as an adult is a very good thing to do. By using my critical thinking skills and taking in information, it will bring my life up to a huge success.

Ryan Kraker
Smithtown, New York

VIP helped me grow a lot. I learned how to interact with people and how to leave them alone if they give me negative feedback. I learned how to deal with people in the work environment by repeating the directions that other people give me and following them.

Russell Hornig-Rohan, '07
New York City

During my three years there, VIP meant a lot to me. Before I went to the program, I really had no friends, but that all changed the first year. It not only offers classes that give you knowledge but gives you tools that will give you help in the real world. Teachers, counselors, and peers helped me through times of thick and thin. I felt more like family here than anywhere else besides my home. One of the emotions that I think VIP is big on is caring. I never met anyone who is more caring than my wonderful roommate.

Cory Trowbridge, '07
Ithaca , N.Y.

I have more friends than I did in high school. I was accepted here for who I am. Nobody tells me that I can't be all of who I am.

Lauren Cooper, '07
Smithtown, N.Y.