If you are willing to indulge in a moment of nostalgia, I would like to send you back a few years (or maybe more) to your time in school. Was your experience similar to mine and thousands of others - sitting through class completely unfocused, disengaged, frustrated, and bored – staring at the clock above the chalkboard watching those 45 minutes creep by, when you could finally wobble to your numb and tingling feet to rush down the hallway, run the gauntlet of smokers in the restroom, and, then, do battle with your locker, only to endure the next stupefying session – on and on through the day until that final bell? Were you, again, like me and many children today - bullied in the gym locker room, lunch room, playground, or hallways? Or, were you one of the fortunate ones who did well, enjoyed, and, were actually interested in everything offered in school?
Now, if you will, imagine that you had been fortunate enough to have a place to go every day where everyone was fully engaged in the things that most interested them at that moment, where learning was lively and often messy, where play was recognized as a valid, natural, and essential form of learning, where hands-on projects were the norm, where big questions lead to new inquiries, where there were no time constraints, where mentoring relationships were built on mutual respect and trust, where “no thank you” was an acceptable response, and where everyone was fully encouraged and supported to be completely in charge of their education based on their aspirations, skills, and interests (with no set and static curriculum, tests, quizzes, grades, or other standardizing metrics). Envision a safe, collaborative (read: non-competitive) environment where the staff, volunteers, and other participants support each person to be themselves, while challenging each other to grow to be their best selves, and, where the only rule is respect for self, others, and that space.
Deep Root Center is honored and thrilled to be that safe, non-coercive, and dynamic educational facility, right here - right now, where any child, in St Lawrence County, between the ages 5-19, who was (is) unhappy, anxious, depressed, bored, disenfranchised, and generally dissatisfied with traditional school, feels at home and can flourish. Nearly every single adult II have spoken to over the past four years has said, “where were you when I was in school?” or “… if only you were around when I really needed you.” My response is always, “yes, indeed, if only I had a place like DRC when I was in school.” Now, you can make sure DRC is able to accept all of those kids who choose to rise out of the schooling situation that was so restricting for us. See, we are all feeling a wee bit cramped in our 2nd floor space over the thrift shops in Canton. Actually, to be perfectly blunt, we are rapidly outgrowing these walls.
A volunteer teaching Chinese in our very messy and full maker-room.
This is the property we would like to purchase.
Over the past couple months, we have come to the unavoidable conclusion that DRC needs a permanent home that has a functional music room, which allows for free expression as well as group classes, a real kitchen to cook and enjoy good food - together, abundant space to store all of our resources, equipment, materials, and all those hands on projects that are in some stage of completion, plenty of room for independent study and group classes, and a back yard – to run, play, build large carpentry projects, sit under a tree to read and daydream, and plant gardens (or make mud pies). The staff and board have identified a house in the village of Canton, which will provide for all of the above needs with the added bonus of reducing our monthly financial obligations. We have not, however, made a purchase offer because we need to raise a down payment first, which is why we are appealing directly to you for help. We really don’t want this opportunity to slip away (be purchased by someone else). You can make sure the young people who rely on Deep Root Center, and, call us home, have the appropriate space and facilities they need to grow, learn, and, yes, thrive: 1) by making a small donation to our permanent facility fund – every little bit helps, 2) by making a large financial contribution to become a DRC benefactor, or 3) by lending us a substantial amount, which we will pay back with interest. Please visit the DRC websiteto learn more about our mission and programs, you can also click over to the volunteer page and sign up to share your talent, skill, and knowledge with our students by filling out the online volunteer application. You can contribute by clicking on the donate buttonor you can send a check to Deep Root Center, 7 Main St., 2nd floor, Canton. You can also contact me directly to discuss whether you are able to become a DRC Benefactor or lend us what we need to make this dream a reality – for the staff and for our kids. Thank you! Once we are in our new home, we will host a party to celebrate with you all!