Rolling with Scott
When Scott’s mom, Julie, speaks about her son one thing is clear. He has quite an adventurous streak. It is reflected by his love of water and the happiness he exhibits when hanging out at the Matheny pool in the summer, as well as in the joy he radiates when friends or family members push him in his wheelchair at a rapid pace.
“He has always loved motion,” she says, “and anything that goes fast.”
Scott, an 18-year-old student and resident at Matheny, is the inspiration for the Miles for Matheny team “Rolling with Scott”, comprised of his family, extended family, and friends. This year’s 21st Annual Miles for Matheny marks the team’s seventh year participating in the event, which raises funds and awareness for the Matheny Medical and Educational Center in Peapack, NJ.
Julie remembers with fondness their first Miles for Matheny event, shortly after Scott became a student.
“Everyone was so friendly. Dozens of teachers, therapists, and staff approached Scott, and by extension me, and spoke to us with such familiarity and affection.” She was not only struck by their friendliness, but by the amount of community members that came out to cheer the Matheny students and residents on that day.
Meanwhile, Scott blossomed at Matheny under his teachers and the caring staff. One of his favorites, teacher Gypsy Rain, exhibited a passion, creativity, and belief in her students that inspires everyone around her. “She set the standards for learning and creativity so high for all of her students, regardless of their challenges,” says Julie. “Gypsy, like everyone at Matheny, sees no limitations for our loved ones, and we are forever grateful.”
Over six years later when Scott moved to Matheny the Gordons found the same standards of excellence, compassion, and dedication they encountered in the school. “It’s a very hard decision to have your child live outside of your home,” Julie says, “and when Scott moved in to Matheny it was bittersweet. But it was the best ‘hardest decision’ we’ve ever made.”
His teacher, Gypsy, still visits his room where they have dance parties or just hang out. He goes on school trips as well as outings with his fellow residents each month that include dinners out, movies, and baseball games. Julie is amazed at the amount and variety of outings Matheny provides for their students and residents. “They have this incredible staff who just make things happen,” she says. “Since Scott moved to Matheny, his world has just opened up.” This year, he will attend the Matheny Prom for the first time.
“Oftentimes we feel the world is not built for individuals with disabilities, but Matheny is.”
Scott’s love of motion and speed will serve him well on June 3 at Liberty Park in Peapack when Team “Rolling with Scott” takes their place in the wheelchair walk portion of the day. “There is such a sense of joy at ‘Miles’ for Scott and our family,” Julie says. “It’s that wonderful feeling that individuals with disabilities are embraced by the community. People cheer for them and we feel welcomed. It’s a beautiful, warm feeling.”