… are often the first words spoken when a parent, of one of the overwhelming number of young people who have been diagnosed and cope with anxiety on a daily basis, calls Deep Root Center. Some, who do not live with, or, understand this, would say, in a casual tone, that everyone experiences anxiety. Yes, on a very basic level, I would agree; worry and stress is universal. However, the kind of anxiety I am speaking of is not your run of the mill, garden variety vague unease or concern; I am directly referring to the heart stopping, gut wrenching, puking, agitated, hand shaking (whole body shaking), cold sweat, mind blowing, debilitating, paralyzing – panic, that affects more children, teens, and young adults today than ever before.
When you consider just a few of the screaming headlines, in the last week, alone - blatant racism, homophobia, and xenophobia, hate rallies, terrorism, social injustice, potential nuclear holocaust, extreme weather brought on by climate change – all of which no one can really escape (believe me, I try), is it any wonder this is becoming a pandemic with far reaching consequences?
On top of all that, our kids, from a very early age, are probably also dealing with peer pressure (including bullying), body shaming, learning differences, societal and familial requirements, high stakes testing, over scheduling, homework, over consumption, and/or simply not enough time to connect with nature or their true selves.
The parents who call Deep Root Center are seeking an answer – an alternative – to what they have already tried. My first task, which I take very seriously, is to stay quiet and listen fully to their personal story. These tales, as you can imagine, have a similar thread; however, they are each intensely intimate and often heart-wrenching.
After they have finished, or, simply exhausted all of words they could possibly use to describe their child’s situation, I proceed to explain exactly what Deep Root Center can offer them (their child and family).
Firstly, and, probably most importantly, DRC is a safe place. Our personal and organizational philosophy dictates that. All kids are welcome here. Every person here (staff, students, parents, and volunteers) understands the importance of building community through mutual respect and honors that. It is, in fact, our only rule.
Every single student is treated as a unique individual with completely different interests and passions. An ongoing learning plan is developed through conversations during weekly mentoring sessions. There is absolutely no coercion here. No class is required. Everything the student takes on is through their own free-will with direct support and suggestions from the staff (this is key, these are not orders, every student is allowed to say, “no”, if they feel it is not right for them at that moment).
This piece in itself is so very important when dealing with anxiety. Which is often defined by the fear of losing control. When that authority is reverted back to the young person, while scary in itself (for parent and child), it relieves some of those feelings of being dominated, and, allows them to peek out from under all that weight and seek out (often with trepidation) their personal path.
Yes, we offer classes (group and one on one), as well as the facilities with all of the resources and materials our students need to pursue their interests and passions. DRC is a constant hive of action and vibrancy, where kids are actively creating, researching, studying, discussing, and playing, as well as questioning, exploring, and discovering new ideas and concepts that are relevant to their world.
Most of our kids refer to Deep Root Center as home away from home – a family – where they can be themselves, while taking charge of their education. They understand fully that learning is absolutely natural and school is completely optional. They are choosing to be proactive, motivated, and excited about learning, because they appreciate that education is important and valid.
In so many ways our work here is defined by the same end goal as traditional school – accomplished, educated students, who will go out and change the world. It is simply our methods and philosophy that are different, which allows DRC to follow each student’s objectives, instead of our own.
DRC NEWS: Membership: We are here for any young person in the North Country. If you feel that your child would thrive in our environment – give us a call or send an email. I would be honored to listen to your story.
Summer Programs – Register online. Theater with Karen Wells - This Monday – it is not too late to register your thespian. Music with Chris Raymo – Week of August 21st. Art and Crafts with Maria – Week of August 28th.