Remembering David Sharif
The Help Group was extremely saddened to learn of the sudden passing of David Sharif, a former student at Village Glen West from 2002-2015, at the age of 24. David was a driven and life-long learner, who dedicated much of his life to autism advocacy and social justice causes. David was active in all VGW and THG activities and was extremely proud of having attended school here for his entire grade school career. David gave a graduation speech about what is was like to have autism- a speech that was so powerful Autism Speaks helped turn it into an animated video (My Name is David) that can still be watched on YouTube.
David went on to attend Pace University in New York, where he graduated magna cum laude with a degree in political science. David dedicated himself to raising acceptance and awareness of autism and the needs of autistic individuals. David always had a love of travel, and spent time studying in Spain, Ecuador, Germany and Switzerland. He also published a book of poems entitled “The Empowerment of My Condition,” taught English to students in China, was a motivational speaker with Global Autism Network and Respect Ability. David could best be described by all who knew him as a shining light and a beacon of hope. He overcame every challenge and obstacle that came his way. David was amazing, passionate, dedicated, driven, funny, intelligent, creative, caring and unique. His passion for speaking up and out for the autistic community was unparalleled. His legacy will continue on through all of his advocacy work and by having touched so many lives in his short 24 years. Our condolences go out to his parents, Syud Sharif and Karen Shapiro, to his brother, Ben and to all who called David a friend.