Read on to learn more about us at Sport-Social. Sport-Social began not as a business venture, but as a single Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) tutor working with individual families to develop the social and behavioral skills of their children with Autism and other disabilities. By 2010, founderAndrew Devitt had discovered that his instruction was particularly effective when coupled with outdoor activities. He began meeting clients in local skateparks throughout his native Las Vegas, and embedding their social and behavioral learning in action sports lessons. It became clear that this multi-faceted approach to ABA enhanced both the experience and the outcomes for learners.
Emboldened by the success of his students and the support of their families, Andrew decided to start a business in 2011. With his savings, and some help from the bank, he rented a modest warehouse space. He enlisted a core group of dedicated friends and fellow ABA instructors, and together we turned an empty warehouse into a one-of-a-kind training facility for social, behavioral and sports instruction.
The reaction from the community was overwhelming, and the business grew quickly. Students were having fun, and parents were often moved by the progress they saw in their children. It wasn’t long before the new warehouse started to feel cramped, and we began looking for more space for our programs. In 2012, Sport-Social made the move to our current location: a significantly larger warehouse space in southern Las Vegas.
Growth and expansion
Now with room to grow, we outfitted our unique facility with the amenities necessary to give our clients a professional experience. We built a reception lobby, skate park, basketball court, bounce castle, arcade, music/drama stage, art studio, and classroom. Additionally, we began providing a home for the organizations Autism Building Blocks and FEAT, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing resources for families affected by Autism. Proud of our success, and encouraged by new partners, business was looking great.
Then, sadly, tragedy struck. Less than a year after opening, our new facility was the victim of an arson attack. Such a devastating setback at this crucial time was extremely disheartening. The damage was extensive, but our hard-working staff, devoted families and caring friends came out in strong support, and we began rebuilding immediately. Our doors reopened for lessons just one week later, thanks to many hours of labor from staff and volunteers, but it was months before we were able to recover completely. We will always be indebted to our clients and friends who supported us through this trying time.
Project VESTO winner
In 2013, Sport-Social entered Project VESTO, a competition for start-up businesses in Nevada, with a chance to win a $100,000 competitive grant. As our supporters rallied, the field was narrowed from hundreds of entrants to 12 finalists. Finally, after months of hard work and tenacity, we won the grant, and with it, the promise of newer, bigger, better things for Sport-Social. With our new financial support, we pledged to hire additional staff, expand our programs, increase enrollment, and further outfit our warehouse with the best equipment for our specialized programs.
The future is bright here at Sport-Social. We are constantly evolving to maintain the highest level of professionalism, along with the highest quality instruction for our students. In each move we make, we remember that our mission is to serve the social and behavioral needs of our learners.
It is this learner-oriented focus that guides our efforts, and ensures that we never stray from our mandate to provide a unique and effective service to our community.