Former Mass. Gov. Dukakis Tours Southboro Special Needs Facility - NECN

Former Mass. Gov. Dukakis Tours Southboro Special Needs Facility

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    Former Mass. Gov. Dukakis tours Southboro special needs facility

    Dukakis visits New England Center for Children, serving autistic students (Published Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014)

    (NECN: Kristen Carosa) - Former Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis spent some one-on-one time with students from the New England Center for Children in Southboro, Mass. Friday.

    The school serves autistic children - a facility that he's working to help.

    "I'm just in awe of what these teachers can do and how they do it," said Dukakis.

    One of the highlights for Dukakis was speaking to the school's student council.

    "I asked him what advice he'd like to give young people," said Bradley, the council's vice president.

    Bradley is one of 250 students on campus in Southboro.

    The center's mission is to transform the lives of children with autism worldwide through education and research.

    The facility helps kids from two years old to young adults.

    "We serve kids all over the autism spectrum from all over the country and around the world," said NECC founder Vincent Scully.

    Dukakis and his wife, Kitty became invested in the treatment of special needs kids while he was governor.

    He's now a board member of NECC and in charge of a campaign to raise $10 million to expand the facility.

    "The expectations here are so high - in a positive way," said Kitty Dukakis. "These youngsters are gaining day by day by day."

    Once the $10 million is raised, a new onsite auticism institute with research and training space will be built in addition to a cultural center that will offer dance, acting and music classes to the students.

    $7.5 million has been raised so far.

    A fundraiser will be held in Boston on November 1 - an event Dukakis hopes will raise the rest.

    "I hope we have lots of people," said Dukakis. "We will raise a lot of money for the center, but more than that, I hope we can help more people understand just how remarkable this center is for these youngsters."