This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience. More info

New Port Richey Campus & Make-A-Wish Turn Boy's Dream into Reality

boy with drawing tabletAn 11-year-old New Port Richey, Fla., boy with huge design aspirations came gliding through the campus doors in his wheelchair in early April to discover he was about to get the deal of a lifetime.

This 11-year-old is not just another boy from Pasco County. Joey was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy (MD), a genetic disease that weakens the muscles used to help a person move. He is an avid computer and video gamer who enjoys exploring new games and playing them with friends. He wants to be a video game creator when he grows up, and officials at Rasmussen College’s New Port Richey campus helped turn his dream into a reality.

Rasmussen College partnered with Make-A-Wish Central & Northern Florida to provide Joey with a digital drawing tablet and a one-year membership to Adobe Creative Cloud.

“This was one of the few opportunities where we were able to leverage our industry experience and our assets … to fulfill the wish of someone that really deserved to have a creative outlet,” said Jennifer Ayotte, Fort Myers School of Design dean.

The Adobe membership, worth around $600, will give Joey access to Adobe’s suites of software for graphic design, video editing, web development applications and cloud services. In addition to the drawing tablet and Adobe software, Make-A-Wish granted Joey’s wish to have a custom Alienware Gaming Computer—a professional grade device specifically created for gaming.

Bill Sattlemeyer, state program coordinator for the School of Technology and School of Design, as well as self-styled “guru of all things gaming,” was also part of Joey’s day. He brought in many different games that were ready to be installed and played on Joey’s computer, as well as a bunch of software that professionals use to create games.

group of college employees“We created an Adobe account for him and gave him some tutorial videos so he could take them and learn on his own pace,” Ayotte said.

The tablet and membership were great gifts for an aspiring gamer, but connecting with Joey was the best part for Sattlemeyer and Ayotte.

After being told Joey was a bit shy, Sattlemeyer and Ayotte were prepared to sit back, introduce themselves and be on-call for questions. But, according to Ayotte, the minute Joey came into the classroom, he began to shine.

“He was immediately drawn to everything in the room,” Ayotte said. “He was able to just forget about everything and let his guard down. He was able to just be a child with sheer excitement that he was getting something really special.”

Ayotte and Sattlemeyer walked Joey through the Adobe software and talked with him one-on-one about their shared passion for design and games.

The goose bumps and happy tears didn’t end there.

The second best part of the day was seeing the family’s reaction to their interaction with Joey, Ayotte said.

“The family was coming up to us and telling us how impactful this was, and some were just moved to tears,” she added. “They were just grateful we made this such a special experience for someone we didn’t know just because we wanted to.”

boy working with computerSattlemeyer was clearly moved by the experience too. He gave Joey his contact information and offered to help with the games or tablet at Joey’s convenience.

“This event truly allowed us to make a difference with someone that had nothing to do with the classroom or students, but someone that would benefit from our expertise and someone we may never have met otherwise,” Ayotte said.

“Wishes that inspire community support like Joey’s are important to us at Make-A-Wish,” said Lisa Andrews, regional director for Make-A-Wish Central & Northern Florida. “Rasmussen College’s wish enhancement will bring joy to Joey’s family and also illustrate the transformational power a wish can have to everyone who is involved.”

Make-A-Wish Central & Northern Florida grant over 300 wishes per year, and the average cost of a wish is $7,000. The next big event is the Walk for Wishes in May.

Jennifer Pfeffer

Jennifer is a Content Marketing Specialist at Collegis Education who researches and writes articles on behalf of Rasmussen College. She is passionate about learning and higher education and enjoys writing engaging content to help current and future students on their path to a rewarding education.


Related Content

This piece of ad content was created by Rasmussen College to support its educational programs. Rasmussen College may not prepare students for all positions featured within this content. Please visit for a list of programs offered. External links provided on are for reference only. Rasmussen College does not guarantee, approve, control, or specifically endorse the information or products available on websites linked to, and is not endorsed by website owners, authors and/or organizations referenced. Rasmussen College is a regionally accredited private college.

logo-accreditation-acen logo-accreditation-ccne chart-credential-laddering-healthcare-management 0 Credits 90 Credits 180 Credits 48 Credits Start Here HIGH SCHOOL GRADS Start Here TRANSFER STUDENTS Start Here SECOND DEGREE PURSUERS End Here ASSOCIATE’S DEGREE Start Here MASTER’S DEGREE PURSUERS End Here BACHELOR’S DEGREE End Here MASTER’S DEGREE chart-credential-laddering-rsb 0 Credits Start Here HIGH SCHOOL GRADS Start Here TRANSFER STUDENTS 90 Credits Start Here SECOND DEGREE PURSUERS End Here ASSOCIATE'S DEGREE 180 Credits End Here BACHELOR'S DEGREE chart-credential-laddering-rsd 0 Credits Start Here HIGH SCHOOL GRADS Start Here TRANSFER STUDENTS 91 Credits Start Here SECOND DEGREE PURSUERS End Here ASSOCIATE'S DEGREE 181 Credits End Here BACHELOR'S DEGREE chart-credential-laddering-rsjs 0 Credits Start Here HIGH SCHOOL GRADS Start Here TRANSFER STUDENTS 91 Credits Start Here SECOND DEGREE PURSUERS End Here ASSOCIATE'S DEGREE 180 Credits End Here BACHELOR'S DEGREE chart-credential-laddering-rsn 0 Credits Start Here HIGH SCHOOL GRADS Start Here TRANSFER STUDENTS 91 Credits Start Here SECOND DEGREE PURSUERS End Here ASSOCIATE'S DEGREE 181 Credits End Here BACHELOR'S DEGREE icon-colored-outline-bank icon-colored-outline-certificate icon-colored-outline-circle-dollar-sign icon-colored-outline-folder-search icon-colored-outline-hand-heart icon-colored-outline-head-blocks icon-colored-outline-head-cog icon-colored-outline-head-heart icon-colored-outline-health-plus-leaves icon-colored-outline-hospital icon-colored-outline-light-bulb-analytics icon-colored-outline-magnifying-glass icon-colored-outline-monitor-healthcare icon-colored-outline-monitor-paper-search icon-colored-outline-nurse-rays icon-colored-outline-padlock-shield icon-colored-advance icon-colored-arrows-cross-curve icon-colored-build icon-colored-bulb-analytics icon-colored-certificate icon-colored-continual-developement icon-colored-folder-mortarboard icon-colored-globe-pen icon-colored-growth icon-colored-hand-bubble icon-colored-head-blocks icon-colored-head-cog icon-colored-laptop-cbe-skyscraper icon-colored-laptop-webpage icon-colored-location-pin icon-colored-monitor-paper-scan icon-colored-national icon-colored-person-whiteboard icon-colored-police-light icon-colored-prep icon-colored-presenter icon-colored-regional icon-colored-save-time icon-colored-skyscraper icon-colored-state icon-colored-student-centered icon-colored-support icon-colored-world-experience icon-camera icon-filter icon-info-circle icon-mail-forward icon-play-solid icon-quote-mark-left icon-quote-mark-right icon-share-square-o icon-spinner icon-tag ras-logo-flame ras-logo-horizontal ras-logo-stacked icon-bank icon-general-chart icon-general-connect icon-general-degree icon-general-discuss icon-general-email icon-general-find icon-general-hat icon-general-heart icon-general-laptop-building icon-general-laptop icon-general-leader icon-general-map icon-general-money icon-general-paperwork icon-general-people icon-general-phone icon-general-speak-out icon-head-heart icon-mglass icon-scales icon-simple-chat icon-simple-desktop icon-simple-find icon-simple-hamburger icon-simple-phone icon-testimonial-quotes icon-social-facebook-square-colored icon-social-facebook-square icon-social-facebook icon-social-google-plus-square icon-social-google-plus icon-social-instagram icon-social-linkedin-square-colored icon-social-linkedin-square icon-social-linkedin icon-social-pinterest-p icon-social-twitter-square icon-social-twitter icon-social-youtube-play-colored icon-social-youtube-play icon-util-checkbox-white icon-util-checkbox icon-util-checked-white icon-util-checked icon-util-chevron-down icon-util-chevron-left icon-util-chevron-right icon-util-chevron-up icon-util-language-switch icon-util-loading icon-util-open-window-button icon-util-open-window-link icon-util-pdf-button icon-util-pdf-link icon-util-refresh icon-util-x