VR client receives Student of the Year Achievement Award in Orangeburg


VR client David Tanner Smith recently received the Orangeburg Mayor’s Committee for Employment of Persons with Disabilities Student of the Year Achievement Award.

Tanner was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and intellectual disability at a young age. Although he has difficulties with social cues and abstract concepts, Tanner is friendly and outgoing. Through hard work, and with the help of tutors and family, he received a high school diploma from Glenforest School in Columbia, SC.

With assistance from VR, Tanner has secured two part time jobs, one with Cornerstone’s Common Ground Café and another with Chick-Fil-A in Orangeburg. Customers and staff at both locations look forward to his presence each day because of his relentlessly cheerful outlook.

Tanner keeps a full schedule of activities; he loves to ride his bike and four wheeler, is a member of the local YMCA swim team, and loves watersports in general. He was recently one of seven candidates, out of 72 applicants, selected for the Clemson LIFE program. This two-year basic program incorporates functional academics, independent living, employment, social/leisure skills, and health/wellness skills in a public university setting with the goal of producing self-sufficient young adults.

Freddie Boan, Area Supervisor; Kitty Bamberg, Business Development Specialist; April Maynor, Counselor; and John Bates, Job Coach, attended the award presentation with Tanner and his family.