Growth Through Opportunity program receives National Down Syndrome Society award

Executive director accepts the Organization of the Year award on Capitol Hill

ROANOKE, Va. – A local nonprofit helping those with intellectual disabilities is thrust into the national spotlight after receiving a prestigious award.

Travis Akins, executive director of Growth Through Opportunity, recently accepted the Organization of the Year award from the National Down Syndrome Society.

Akins and GTO Cadet Tyler Caldwell traveled to Capitol Hill to give the keynote address at the award ceremony.

Growth Through Opportunity started in the Roanoke Police Department, giving those with special needs an opportunity to learn job skills.

“I'm still almost speechless about it, to be honest with you, because I'm just an ole country boy, to be honest with you, just trying to do the good thing and try to help do God's work here on this earth for those unique individuals that absolutely need some help in life," Akins explained.

Akins say the trip to Washington allowed him to make contacts in 30 states interested in starting a GTO program.

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