From Stigma to Celebration
25 Years of Embracing Neurodiversity
Dear Eye to Eye Community,
As young people across the nation head back to school, it’s remarkable to think that 25 years ago, Dave embarked on a journey that would touch the lives of countless young people. Today, we celebrate an extraordinary occasion – the 25th anniversary of Eye to Eye. This milestone is a testament to your unwavering support, dedication, and belief in our mission to improve the educational experience and outcomes of neurodiverse young people, while engaging them and their allies in the movement for a more equitable and inclusive society.
“Today, as we celebrate Eye to Eye’s 25th anniversary, I find myself humbled, for 25 years ago, I could never have imagined the profound impact we would make in the lives of young people across the country. As young leaders, harnessing their neurodiversity as a superpower drives our vision for a more inclusive future. I am grateful to all who’ve supported us on this remarkable 25-year journey and excited for what the future holds as we continue championing neurodiversity.” — David Flink, CEO, Eye to Eye
Over the past quarter-century, Eye to Eye has relentlessly pursued a vision of a world where neurodiversity is celebrated, understood, and embraced. We’ve worked tirelessly to empower the next generation of young advocates, educators, and leaders who are profoundly impacting the lives of neurodiverse young people.
As we commemorate this remarkable anniversary, we invite you to join us in celebrating our achievements and renewing our commitment to creating a more inclusive and accepting world for all. Here are three meaningful ways you can participate in our 25th-anniversary celebration:
- Donate $25 a Month: Your ongoing support is invaluable to us. By pledging just $25 a month, you can ensure that our vital programs continue to thrive. Your contribution will directly impact the lives of neurodiverse young people, empowering them to unlock their full potential.
- Watch and Share 25 Stories: Throughout the coming months, we will share 25 incredible stories from our neurodiverse community. These stories are a testament to the strength, resilience, and creativity of individuals who have overcome challenges and thrived. Watch, share, and help us spread the message of neurodiversity far and wide.
- Join Us for our Celebration in May: In May we will host a special night in New York. This event promises to be an evening of inspiration, art, and community. Your presence at this event will be a celebration of our 25 years and an investment in our future.
Your continued support and involvement make a difference, and we couldn’t be more grateful. Together, we can ensure that the next 25 years of Eye to Eye are even more impactful and transformative.
Thank you for being an essential part of our community. We look forward to celebrating this incredible milestone with you and working together to build a brighter, more inclusive future for all.
P.S. Stay tuned for more updates and details about our 25th-anniversary celebrations! Together, we’ll continue to make a difference in the lives of neurodiverse young people across the nation.
Eye to Eye is established with the goal of improving the educational experience and outcomes of neurodiverse young people. When eleven Brown University students with learning differences partner with veteran educator Maureen Kenner and begin mentoring a group of neurodiverse students at Fox Point Elementary School in Providence, Rhode Island.
Eye to Eye expands its reach by organically establishing chapters in different locations across the United States, enabling more students to benefit from its programs. This includes launching the mentorship program and forming partnerships with educational institutions, advocacy organizations, and other stakeholders to advance its mission further and expand its reach.
The project that was Eye to Eye grew into a movement with the help of now-President Marcus Soutra. Eye to Eye became a national nonprofit organization with the first two staff members scaling it from David Flink’s kitchen table in Brooklyn NY.
First OI at NJCU University with 12 young leaders attending. This amazing annual event brings together neurodiverse young adults aged 16-26 to receive training in storytelling, organizing, and delivery of art-based social and emotional curriculum.
Camp Eye to Eye was launched as a “lab school” to serve more students and improve the Eye to Eye curriculum and mentor training model.
Launches Eye to Eye Ambassadors speakers bureau in Washington DC during the first "Day of Action," amplifying the voices of ND youth on Capitol Hill. Partners with the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) to make this an annual event, marking a significant milestone in advocating for young people with invisible disabilities.
Eye to Eye receives first million-dollar investment from Venture Philanthropy Firm, New Profit. Allowing the mentoring program to expand into more school districts than ever before.
First of three Eye-to-Eye Tours: Young leaders travel nationwide to raise awareness and combat stigma, addressing thousands at various venues. They collaborate with Lady Gaga's Born This Way Foundation and were later featured in the PBS film "Being You," in partnership with Understood and Roadtrip Nation.
Eye to Eye CEO David Flink’s book “Thinking Differently: An Inspiring Guide for Parents of Children with Learning Disabilities” is published by HarperCollins. In it, he sets out to enlarge our understanding of learning. He offers new, powerful strategies for teaching, parenting, and supporting the 1 in 5 students in the United States who learn differently.
The launch of Understood.org, Eye to Eye, and 13 other organizations come together as founding partners in building an online resource and community for families of young people with learning differences. The site continues to reach individuals every day.
Eye to Eye Goes to the White House: Representing neurodiverse young people at the First Lady’s Reach Higher Initiative aimed at inspiring every student in America to take charge of their future by completing their education past high school, whether at a professional training program, a community college, or a four-year college or university.
UCSF’s BrainLENS Lab conducts a multi-year study on Eye to Eye's Mentoring Program, demonstrating that social-emotional learning boosts confidence in students with learning differences, helping them achieve significantly higher levels of self-esteem and personal growth compared to their peers without learning differences.
Eye to Eye introduces a series of free virtual engagements to address the evolving needs of students and educators in a virtual world. 'Learning Differently 101 for Students' and 'Learning Differently 101 for Teachers' offer tailored experiences to enhance awareness, empathy, and self-efficacy while fostering empowering dialogue and interconnectedness.
Launch of Professional Learning program offers general educators competency-based professional learning in a variety of modules and workshops. The goal is to help educators foster inclusive, supportive learning environments, reshape beliefs, and enhance practices for students with learning differences. We have served over 30,000 educators since our program launch.
David Flink Recognized as a 2021 Top 10 CNN Hero.
Eye to Eye introduces the Young Adult Guiding Coalition (YAGC), a 10-month volunteer opportunity for neurodivergent individuals aged 16-25. YAGC members contribute insights to Eye to Eye programs, co-create community opportunities, and serve as ambassadors in the fight against stigma and promotion of anti-ableist practices, all in pursuit of a world that embraces neurodiversity.
Eye to Eye launches ND Alliance, a national student-led initiative that operates a network of clubs at local high schools and colleges nationwide. ND Alliance clubs focus on creating community among neurodiverse students and allies on campus, building leadership, and mobilizing for systems change through grassroots organizing and advocacy.
MacKenzie Scott contributes $5 million to Eye to Eye's $15 million initiative to support neurodiverse youth. It is leading to the launch of the Eye to Eye scholarship program among other exciting initiatives.
Eye to Eye celebrates its 25th anniversary. An organization that has contributed significantly to a movement, serving over 12,000 students through its mentoring program, training and supporting over 100,000 educators, and inspiring millions of individuals through awareness campaigns that combat stigma.