A Yankee loving, Lego constructing, history buff who spends the working hours of his day assisting Green Distribution’s “concert artist t-shirt” inventory project. Andrew, who was one of Spectrum Works’ first students, came to the program with the same motivation as many others who come to the program. To be given the opportunity for employment. Now at the age of 29, Andrew has achieved just that, along with a sense of pride and a feeling of accomplishment. He is a valued member of the team “everyone at Green wants to work with him, he always steps up to the plate.”
“When Andrew Berra, my brother, graduated from high school in 2008, his options were few. Andrew is on the autism spectrum and, as with many autistic adults, our family had difficulty figuring out his next step. He bounced from one job or program to another until we found Spectrum Works, a nonprofit organization that provides job training and employment to young adults with autism... He beams with pride when he completes an order from start to finish on his own. When he is focused on an assigned task, he is largely at peace.” - Lindsay Berra, sibling
Given his love for baseball, “stepping up to the plate” seems like a very fitting way to describe Andrew and his work ethic. His passion for baseball began with his grandfather, the New York Yankee’s Yogi Berra, who Andrew was very close to growing up.
Baseball is not his only interest but a pastime he shares with his father. Together, they have traveled state-to-state where Andrew excitedly watches his father in softball tournaments. Raleigh, NC and Florida stand out to him as his favorite places to visit, followed by Delaware and Maryland. The excitement on his face when talking about traveling with his father is ecstatic, something he clearly holds dear to his heart.
Andrew, although not self-proclaimed, is just as much a current events buff as he is with historical events such as Napoleon Era, Julius Caesar, WWI and WWII. Merely hours after it was announced, he shared with the team that Mirano Rivera had been inducted into the Hall of Fame by a unanimous vote. This doesn’t stop with sports, Andrew has slated Bohemian Rhapsody and Green Book to take home Oscars, specifically Viggo Mortensen of Green Book.
Spectrum Works has helped to prepare Andrew with the independence and confidence vital for employment. It is clear that Andrew enjoys Spectrum Works and the job opportunity that has been provided to him.
“I don’t know of any other organization that does this. The staff stays with the students, trains them and shows them what to do. They even work with the owner of the company to fill positions. It makes me very happy… Andrew’s a proud kid and he has gained confidence. People appreciate what he is doing.” - Larry Berra, parent
“Andrew does a terrific job! He recently became a mentor to our students in the Green Distribution "pick and pack " department. He was the group leader and gave directions as to sorting and sizing rock star tee shirts. Andrew took on the responsibility of completion and worked late in order to finish the assignment. I am bursting with pride! - Beverly Ficon, Spectrum Works Program Manager