The (sometimes) lengthy process of proving legitimacy is what stands between your mission and community validation. Hard work, honesty, and integrity are the only way to open the door to trust and recognition, because the authenticity of your philosophy and the services you offer are simply not enough,
This phenomenon is happening right now for Deep Root Center (DRC). We are building our reputation one interaction at a time and it is working. We began the 2015/16 academic year with three student members and ended with seventeen. This year, we started with eighteen members and have already added one more with several in the wings. We have successfully expanded our programs to include the Seedlings, the 5-8 year olds. The people who call, visit, or that we encounter during promotional activities all say they have heard really good things about DRC.
Deep Root Center is also becoming recognized as an organization that funding entities can trust. I am thrilled (and thankful) to report that the Canton Community Fund Board, who have been one of Deep Root Center's leading supporters from the very beginning, approved our request for a technology grant for the second year in a row.
This nearly sixteen hundred dollar grant is funding three new desktop computers, an innovative coding instrument called Ozibot(a little gizmo that enables students to develop code for computer programs as well as gaming), and a revolutionary distance-learning device called Kubi. This robotic arm, controlled by a person who is in a remote location, holds a tablet, (we chose an iPad) which enables them to join or lead our classes through video conferencing. This not only opens up DRC's services to students who live in the far reaches of St. Lawrence County (or beyond), it also allows volunteer facilitators from around the globe to teach classes from their own offices, homes, or classrooms, thereby eliminating the time and hassle of traveling to DRC and quite literally opening a new world of possibilities for our students.
Deep Root Center embraces cutting-edge, as well as, traditional technologies, because we believe that a balance is essential for students to develop skills to follow their curiosity, discover their interests, and “hack” an education that is unique and meaningful to them. The technology grants from Canton Community Fund allow us to continue building the physical and virtual, exciting, state-of-the-art, and creative space we imagine for our students.
Deep Root Center offers a different kind of education. Are you looking for a place where your child is recognized as a unique individual, and where they can "hack" their own education? DRC is that place. Contact us today to begin an amazing journey of discovery and learning.
When I pulled the computer out of the case this morning, I had absolutely nothing concrete to write about except for the usual few vague ideas churning around. I was slammed by inspiration, however, after reading Seth Godin's daily blog, entitled - The Opposite of the Freeloader Problem - which related directly to a recent personal experience. These are the lines that hit me full force: …. These are the people who feed the community first,who give before taking, who figure out how to always give a little more than they take.
What happens to a community filled with freegivers?
Ironically, every member of that community comes out ahead.
His insights, as usual, are spot-on, as indicated by the following story: My ever faithful, previously healthy, 13 year old Corolla, was pronounced dead, after the discovery of a fairly large rusted out hole in the frame (due to heavily salted roads that offer up the final death nell for most vehicles here in the land of ice and snow). Good friends placed their vehicle at our disposal during the hectic week that I needed to return MacKenzie to Hampshire College. Then to our utter amazement, we were offered, not one, but, two cars, for absolutely free, while we were trying to determine how we could possibly negotiate our highly variable schedules with one car.
To add to the multiple layers of compassionate giving in this story, the previous owner of the vehicle we choose, also, offered the studded snow tires, when I visited her to get the DMV papers signed. That was the moment that I fully comprehended what it means to live here, in this amazing North Country, where generosity flows freely to whomever is in need.
When I consider the lessons, beyond the standard subjects, that I would like my students to fully understand, the one that looms above all others, is this: the personal conviction that each of them has something(s) amazing to offer the wider world and that they will do everything in their power to extend it, without hesitation or expectation of reward, on a regular basis.
They will all intuit, on a profound level, that generosity abounds because they are surrounded by good people doing good things. It is modeled for them every single day in our community and by the people (staff and volunteers) who chose to spend their time at Deep Root Center facilitating classes, and helping in any way they can to make DRC available to any student who needs our services.
These enlightening revelations have also led me to think about changing the questions I currently ask during weekly mentoring sessions, from: What are you interested in learning? If you could do anything, what would it be? To: What do you have to offer the world? What can you do to make our community a better place? How can you use your skills and talents to help others?
I have every confidence that they will each be able to answer those questions in meaningful and inspirational ways.
Some of the Seedlings Crew
Our ten week class schedule was fully implemented this past week. Our older students (Saplings) have the opportunity to learn about aquaponics, creative writing, animal behavior, anthropology, classic literature, current events (specifically elections and civics), math, music, and civil rights through a class called, Black History through the Eyes of Sports.
Calling Volunteers We are still looking for volunteers to facilitate classes and offer assistance for hands on projects. If you can help, please follow this link to our on-line volunteer application.
What is the difference? You may ask. Even the Oxford American Writer's Thesaurus uses them interchangeably. I believe, however, that there is a rather large distinction. Knowing facts and figures from a designated narrow band of information through lecture, homework, and rote memorization simply provides enough information for students to pass an exam. Whereas understanding comes from delving deeply into a theme, that is of great importance or interest to the student, through intense exploration in whatever modality(s) they choose which allows for complex, diverse, and rich conversations, which, in turn, leads to an even more profound comprehension.
This past summer an eleven-year-old and I were discussing Deep Root Center and how it all works. He tossed questions at me faster than I could answer them. Ultimately what I learned from this interrogation was that his impression of self-directed learning is this --- kids choose what they do, no one tells them what to do, there are no grades or quizzes, and the only rule is respect, but, (in his words- and this is huge) “how can the kids (and adults) know that they have learned anything, if they don't have to take a test to prove it?”
The most bewildering piece of this whole exchange is that he is one of the most self-directed kids I know! He embodies intrinsic motivation. He goes after the things he wants and knows how to find the information he needs to get there. Yet, this fifth grader's perception of learning is that he has to take a test to demonstrate his intelligence.
Does this child truly believe that the vast web of knowledge and understanding about the world, that he holds, through his unabashed excitement about life, is invalid because it cannot be tested? And, if he does, what does that say about our need to cling to an antiquated system that places judgment on what classifies as credible expertise?
On Tuesday, we happily welcomed eighteen students for another academic year. We spent the first three days getting reacquainted with each other and the facilities, learning the completely amazing and awesome new portfolio/mentoring software, and developing our individual plans and class schedule for the next ten weeks. We will jump into those plans starting Monday.
If the anticipation and enthusiasm of a new school year have worn off already for your child, Deep Root Center staff is here to help. We will happily listen to your story and offer advice for your child's particular situation. You can get in touch through email or phone (315) 244-3034.
Volunteers: We are still looking for volunteers who would like to: facilitate a class, help create hands-on projects in our brand new Maker Space, share talents and interests or hang out with some awesome kids. Contact us through our volunteer application or send us an email.
The blatant, brazen, and agenda ridden hypocrisies of the western world are astonishing, flabbergasting, and outright stupefying. The media reminds us daily how intensely dangerous it is to be alive; selling us tales of heinous diseases, terrorism, kidnapped kids, tainted food ... the list is inexhaustible; meanwhile, promoting commonplace practices and goods that are equally, if not more, hazardous.
This is the climate in which helicopter parenting has emerged. Parenting is the hardest, most rewarding, trickiest, most delicate, exhausting job there is, and, on top of that, it is never finished. The road is filled with potholes and landmines, as well as triumphs where we have to constantly balance the role of hovering protector with staunch champion, agent of discipline with exuberant cheerleader, the mouthpiece of common sense with the voice of daring-do, often while being judged as deficient by society in-spite of everything we do.
Over the last 22 years, my mothering “fails” have been innumerable, looking back, those shortfalls were, most often, caused by an imbalance of those responsibilities – frequently on the side of too much control. Which caused me to lose sight of the big picture – happy, successful, self-reliant kids (adults). Thankfully, both of my children have always been intensely independent souls and were able to rise above my moments of insanity to become awesome, self–sufficient adults. Yes, they still need Momma love and reassurance, but they are following their own paths and are mercifully passionate about being completely true to themselves.
How then, in this age of hyper-criticism and propaganda, do we mindfully create that balance? How do we teach our kids to fly free when we (they) have the impression that the world is filled with disappointment, danger, and discomfort around every corner. How do we encourage confidence without sanctioning entitlement?
Turn off the TV – seriously! When I put gas in my car, yesterday, at a station that I had not used in a while, I was horrified to discover that there was an NBC news loop playing on the screen of the pump. Really! I was thinking about going into the station to complain, but realized I would be hassling an underpaid employee who had absolutely no control over the companies decision to put this offensive nonsense in front of us. The same can be said for waiting rooms, airports, and, yes, even the bank. We are inundated with premeditated, fear mongering messages at every turn; we don't need to invite it into the sanctity of our homes.
Trust the natural growth process! We all learn and grow through direct experiences of failure, hard work, struggle, and feelings of disappointed. Our children do not learn self sufficiency, intrinsic motivation, or, for that matter, the intoxicating feeling of accomplishment when we make a task easier or complete a job for them.
Cultivate an environment that celebrates respect and empathy; expect respectful, polite, sympathetic behavior, and, lead by example! Even when you are buried deeply within an emotionally charged negative moment, have faith that your children understand your concerns and worries and will ultimately emulate the positive values you have modeled.
Foster a love of play! Kids who are allowed to discover life's truths through experimental, hands-on, imaginative, and creative pursuits have a deeper sense of themselves and are more willing to explore new ideas without fear.
Understand that there are no absolutes, destinations, or requirements! Every single person on this planet is a unique being with completely different talents, desires, and needs. We each (including the youngest among us) have the intrinsic right to follow the path that speaks the loudest to us.
Create opportunities for conversation! Do not be afraid to talk about everything with your kids, yes, even the tough stuff! Keep an open dialogue about current events, your worries, their anxieties, your excitement, their anticipations. They are already aware of controversies and issues, speaking about them as a family, asking their opinions, listening closely, and involving them in important decisions reiterates your trust in them.
Your children will grow up and leave home. There are few things as guaranteed – except as the old axiom reminds us – death and taxes. They will be ready to meet life's challenges with bold anticipation, compassion, and poise, because you provided them with a nurturing background filled with loving mistakes, freedom to explore their ideas, and the knowledge that they are adored and cherished.
Opening day – Tuesday, September 6th.
The DRC space is (mostly) ready and waiting for our student members to fill it with their amazing creative energy.
It is not too late to join us! If your child is experiencing deep, traumatizing anxiety about school or is simply not interested in what is being offered, we can help. You can get in touch via email or phone (315) 244-3034.
Volunteer at DRC
Are you looking for an opportunity to share your knowledge or talents with some young people?
Follow this link to our Volunteer Application. We look forward to introducing you to some awesome kids.