Unitopia is a 501 (c)(3) not-for-profit organization founded to create an inclusive environment for students with learning differences. Through social activities and individualized interaction, Unitopia volunteers attempt to offer equitable opportunities for those that are often sidelined by current social models. Over the past six months, Unitopia has branched out through working in peer-to-peer settings as well as after-school programs set up throughout the Fremont Unified School District. In addition, we have also partnered with local organizations to increase outreach measures and to incorporate our allies’ curriculum through our student interaction.
Aaryan Shah, the founder of Unitopia, has undergone many personal experiences that have provided him with the necessary knowledge for this issue. As quoted, he states: “The reason I founded this organization is due to that ever since elementary school, I have spent many of my lunch periods with students in special education classes. I realized they were often isolated from the ‘general education’ students who were able to spend recess and lunch with friends and other class. Special needs students were rarely given the opportunity to get out of their congested classrooms and interact with others. I regularly spent time with them, usually three days a week, asking them about their day, interacting with their teachers and paraeducators, and helping them feel slightly more included with our interaction. After reaching high school, I found the perfect opportunity and platform that I had always felt so passionate about. I finally decided to take the initiative to combat this issue that so often flies under the radar”.
There is a plethora of statistics depicting the struggles in neurodivergent education, including those on teacher shortages, funding, and lack of social interaction. You can read more about the state of special needs and education here. Unitopia hopes to continue advocating against these issues, but public support is required for us to make a substantial difference. Please check out the Donate page to help us create curriculum for our afterschool programs and making community events for the inclusion of students with learning differences. We look forward to working with you soon!