One look at the smile on Nick Anderson’s face and you get a sense of just how fun loving and personable this young man is. Whether he is talking about his businesses—he has two—his love of the outdoors, his affinity for animals or his obsession with pizza, Nick is a delight. He is also an adult living with autism.
Nick’s journey with Jay Nolan Community Services began at age 11 when he began attending JNCS Saturday Program. It was there that he learned about riding public transportation, interacting with community members, and trying new and different things. Later as a teenager, he again broadened his horizons spending two summers at JNCS’ summer camp.
However, it was not until 2007 after graduating high school that Nick would experience his most dramatic successes. As part of his support plan, JNCS has helped Nick start two ventures—a dog walking and a vending machine business. Nick’s support staff keeps him organized and teaches him business basics (i.e., keeping up with billing, stocking, customer service, etc.). Every day after walking his five canine friends, Nick returns home to hand write his customer invoices. Once a week, he and a support staff member stop by his soda vending machine at JNCS to collect the change and check on the stock.
Nick shares a Northridge home with Evan, one of his former one-on-one aides and his wife, Nadia. Since moving into supported living, Nick is more open to change…to trying new things. He now exercises at a gym, and loves to hike, bike and do almost anything physical. His affinity for pizza hasn’t wavered though. If he could, he would eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. One of his favorite places is Marcelino’s Italian Kitchen. Marcelino has become a family friend and lets Nick behind the counter to make his favorite pizza—meatballs, onions and mushrooms.
Nick is full of wanderlust and thanks to JNCS; he now takes the bus everywhere. Most of all, he just likes being around other people—and his family, friends, and support staff provide just that.