I first met Elian this past summer when a DRC student member introduced us. During that initial lengthy conversation, I intuited that he would somehow fit into the fabric of DRC. He understood the philosophy and knew that if he had the opportunity to self-direct his education, everything would have been completely different for him.
Last summer, Elian was a SUNY Canton student. Over the past several months, as he mentions below, he realized that college, at this time, is not right for him. After reconnecting at the beginning of February, when he requested to join us as a volunteer, I asked him to be our Exploration Station, afternoon and school break, back-up person. He covered a few Exploration Station afternoons, and expressed, several times, his desire to work with us on a full-time basis. My response was always, “I know, and I really would like to hire you; however, our budget does not allow that right now.
Elian saw that as a challenge that he could take on, and showed up randomly, the day before mid-winter break, with a piece of paper. He had been working with a job counselor at the St. Lawrence County One-Stop Career Center and discovered a program that hires young people to work at local companies and organizations. A federal grant covers their salary and all payroll costs for 12-26 weeks, to provide workplace training so these folks can enter the workforce on their own. The ultimate goal is that they would be hired by the business or Not-for-Profit, that they received their training from.
I am so very grateful and pleased that Elian will be a part our community, as a staff member, for the remainder of this academic year. He will work closely with all of our Peeps to explore math and science concepts, through classes and hands-on projects. He will be available to facilitate a myriad of other activities that they are interested in exploring, and he will also be an active participant in the amazing conversations that swirl throughout the Center on any given day. Elian will also continue to cover Exploration Station programming, whenever Erin is not available. Our aspirations include being able to hire him to be with us for as long as he would like to stay. To that end, the last item on his job description is to research viable funding streams for DRC.
The following is Elian’s introduction, in his own words –
A shriek pierces me awake; I roll over and groan. My mammalian alarm clock can sense my hastened breathing and whistles again. My feet hit the floor, and trance-like, I walk over to her cage. She knows she is the head of the household.
“Emmie, you’re not even out of hay!” I sigh at my fat fur baby.
She chirps back at my happily as if to say, “Pick me up!”
Armed with the guinea pig, I go to my peach pink mini-fridge. The noise of the door triggers a scream, as I pull out lettuce and almond milk.
She sits in my lap as I pour Malt-O-Meal Tootie Fruities. I review Fruit Loops on Facebook as a hobby. I swear that my second tattoo will be a bowl of fruit loops on my bicep; the first: a stegosaurus, a triceratops, and a heart on my wrist.
Emmie sneaks a fruit loop from my bowl before I finish my cereal.
Originally, I’m from Iowa and I went to school in Delaware. I came up to Canton to go to college. School hasn’t turned out to be for me so while I was pursuing my degree in Early Childhood Education, I decided to leave and finish my teaching assistant certificate on my own.
In my free time, I like to embroider, paint, and write creative non-fiction. I also have been playing guitar since I was 8. I volunteer sometimes at various places around Potsdam. My guinea pig, Emmie, is my world and I have another human roommate named Scott who is also very cool.
Like Steve Miller’s “The Joker,” I have a lot of jobs. I review off-brand Fruit Loops on Facebook, I’m a pet dad, I’m a volunteer, I’m a writer, I’m an artist, I’m a guitarist, I’m an embroiderer, and I bake mean gluten-free, sugar-free cookies. I work at Deep Root now, which I can add to my long list of things that excite me.
DRC will offer programming during Spring Break, the week of April 13th. Families who are signed up and use our Afternoon Programs at least three days each week will receive a 5% discount for Spring Break Programming. Learn more about Exploration Station Programs here.
DRC has a rolling admissions policy. Young people can join us anytime throughout the academic year. If school is not working out for your child - contact us today to learn how we can help you. We have openings in both the Canton and Lawrenceville Centers.