Founded in November 2014, the Growth Through Opportunity program is designed to provide adults of all ages with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, and other unique challenges an opportunity to gain valuable job skills and social experience.  GTO founder and Executive Director Travis Akins, a 21 year law enforcement veteran, works with each cadet and their families to cater the volunteer experience specifically for their interest and goals.  GTO has been endorsed by the National Down Syndrome Society, and featured by Autism Speaks, the ARC of the United States, Special Olympics of Virginia, and Project Lifesaver, International.  GTO is also a licensed vendor for the Virginia Department of Aging and Rehabilitation Services.

Our goal is to partner with numerous corporate enterprises that will promote the productive employment of individuals with varying neurodevelopmental disabilities. Allowing our GTO CADETS to simply volunteer adds tremendous value to their lives. When you partner with the GTO CADETS you will get the satisfaction knowing you have enhanced the quality of life in a fellow human being. Together, we will enhance an individual’s self worth, pride, and confidence!

GTO is currently partnered with Roanoke Police Department, Roanoke Sheriff’s Department, Roanoke Fire/EMS Department, Botetourt County Sheriff’s Department, and Montgomery Count Sheriff’s Department.