At this time, every year, my internal batteries begin to run low (read - in the dead zone), and I am utterly exhausted by overwhelming frustration, worry, and external stimuli. And every year, when my neurodivergent, introverted brain says, "please let me hibernate for a couple of months," I am revived with thoughtful comments, kind gestures, and gentle reminders that my efforts are appreciated by many kids and their families.
And just like that, I am jolted back to my "why."
As mentioned last week, DRC is on the cusp of growing to accommodate all of the families who seek our services. We do not refuse any of them - no matter their financial circumstances. This year alone we are on track to provide over 150k in fee reductions.
There are many ways to help -
Join us tomorrow, Dec. 5th, from 4-7, in Canton to meet our staff, board, and some of our student members. Bring your questions about our programs, and you will have the opportunity to make suggestions for our future growth.
And join us at DRC - East in Massena Monday, the 12th.
A Message from Maria
Deep Root Center Mission
At Deep Root Center (DRC), we believe that all young people deserve a safe, educational environment where they feel like they are part of a community - and where they are free to explore all the possibilities.
You can mail your contribution to:
Deep Root Center, 48 Riverside Drive, Canton, NY13617
You can also donate through Venmo.
Hope, imagination, enthusiasm, ambition, and gratitude are the cooperative team that has defined DRC's existence from the beginning. Together they create a sense of urgency and positivity that drive everything we do.
Nine years ago, after an overwhelming year of heartbreak, disillusionment, and tears, I was anticipating opening DRC's doors - hoping that this self-directed, non-coercive model would resonate with families in the North Country.
First, there was hope that there would be enough kids to attract other kids. Soon that hopefulness adjusted with the additional goal of attaining 501c3 status and legal identity in NYS. Then and now, our hope rests on keeping us fiscally viable to serve the many families currently relying on us - and all those who will reach out in the coming months and years.
Hoping keeps us alive. Imagination provides the goals. Ambition, commitment, enthusiasm, and joy in the work give us a reason to keep going for all the kids who call on us for support. And our gratitude keeps us humbly aware that DRC would not survive without the generosity of our community.
Hence, it is again the time of year we bring our message of hope to you. Please consider helping us build a sustainable future for Deep Root Center, where we hold space for the hopes, dreams, and aspirations of all the young people who enter our safe, alternative environments.
You will find our annual funding appeal here.
And as always - thank you from the bottom of our hearts!
Weekly Creative Meditation
Both of our crews are settled into a humming groove. They are confidently instigating activities, projects, and new learning opportunities daily.
Plan on joining us for light refreshments, to meet our staff, board,
& these awesome student members. Bring all your questions about our programs.
DRC Canton (48 Riverside Dr., Canton) - December 5th - 4-7pm
DRC-East (47 Perkins Rd., Massena) - December 12th - 4-7pm
We are happy to introduce Ashlyn, DRC-East's new apprentice!
The DRC-East Crew
And a Happy Canton Crew
We all have natural talents - things that seem to come easy. And those are generally the things we spend our time honing and perfecting - because they are fun, satisfying, and engaging. Then as we refine those skills, we discover other things that correlate and seek ways to learn more.
We, humans, are innate learners, and no amount of coercion will force us to absorb the things we don't personally find intriguing or practical. I am reminded of this four times a year when I talk to kids to document everything they have done over the previous ten weeks in their quarterly reports.
When we write their learning plans at the end of each summer, we discuss what they want to focus on based on the things they are naturally interested in and want to explore. In those plans, they often tell me things they think are required or that I want to hear, not what they really desire. This means when I talk to them in mid-November for their first quarterly report, we discover some things they haven't even touched because they honestly have no interest. Or if they did, they don't remember anything about it. Which only induces a sense of unhealthy guilt. All that self-condemnation only makes them feel bad about themselves. It certainly won't change anything the next time we sit down to discuss what they have worked on - in January.
This only speaks to my point that we can require certain subjects and topics - but that does not mean that anything will be learned longer than needed to pass the test - if there is no personal connection. And to be clear, we can't force that either.
I spend my days watching kids seek out the subjects, activities, and projects that feed and excite them. They are learning something new every minute of every day as they joyfully explore, engage, and connect with the nuances of their interests and talents and with the people who are happily doing the same around them.
And those are the moments documented in their quarterly reports - because those are the ones they will remember - forever.
Weekly Creative Meditation
There is a lot going on here these next few weeks. Our annual funding appeal is going out in the next week or so. Look for it here or in your mailbox. DRC is growing, and we need your help to support the families who need us. Please consider contributing to our goal of being able to help every child who wants to join us.
Please plan on joining us at one of our open houses in December. We are excited to share everything we have been working on and our plans for the future. You are invited to have a hand in determining our direction over the next several years with a hands-on activity that will be available for everyone who attends.
Please check out our website - we have been working on streamlining information. We welcome feedback and suggestions.
Our East Peeps - busy and engaged this past week.
And our Canton Crew!
On Friday, a group of kids took over the art room to make pillows and stuffed animals. They pulled me in to fix the sewing machine (again), and while there, I helped the seven-year-old redraw and cut out the pattern for the stuffed bear. As I showed her how to put the pins in to hold the two sides together, I said, "this is going to be a little more difficult to sew than a regular pillow because there are a lot of curves." She looked straight at me and said with a cheeky grin, "I always enjoy a good challenge." I just had to grin back at her.
After a few miss starts and receiving some assistance sewing around said curves of the arms and legs - she is thrilled with her (slightly wonky) stuffed bear that will get some facial features (personality) and clothing on Monday.
That afternoon, I peeked into the art room to find this same seven-year-old standing next to the sewing machine and patiently teaching the fifteen-year-old how to sew. Then, later on, the ten-year-old.
This story is about a particular seven-year-old; however, you could easily replace the seven with one, two, three, four, five, six, and occasionally an eight. We know that learning is absolutely natural but once these kiddos become integrated into our culture through indoctrination of the system - a good portion of them quickly lose all of that "boldness" and self-confidence.
In traditional school, kids often learn their curiosity is a burden to the adults who have to answer the never-ending questions (there simply isn't time in the day) and that mistakes are something to avoid at all costs. They need to fit in - not make waves - sit still and "shut up." These naturally inquisitive (wild) authentic beings are squished into conformity, compliance, and blind obedience.
At DRC, we find this to be true - by the time a child is nine or ten, they often come to us reserved and hugely afraid of making mistakes. They apologize constantly and are fearful of saying what they are interested in or taking on anything that is new or challenging. A few are actually mute.
This is why I celebrated this past week when a teen filled and turned on the electric kettle and made his own ramen alone for the very first time. When I congratulated him with a fist bump - he just stood there with a big grin of pride on his face.
It never gets old. Over this past year, I have watched this teen - who had been so fearful of screwing up that his apologies for asking clarifying questions were profuse - transform into one who confidently makes his own lunch and takes a couple of younger kids under his wing. To say it is awe-inspiring isn't enough to describe the goosebumps and tears that prick at the corners of my eyes every damn time.
Weekly Creative Meditation
We will be holding Open Houses at both Centers in December. Save the dates. Plan on joining us to meet our kiddos and bring all your questions for our Staff and Board.
Both Centers had a great time celebrating Halloween. The DRC- Canton Peeps honored Dia de los Meurtos - as well.
Do you remember two and a half years ago when collectively all we wanted, wished, asked, and prayed for was a return to normal? All these months later, now that we are (mostly) there (despite continued presence of COVID), we understand how much "normal" truly sucks.
I think we forgot in our distress that there is no normal. It is a construct of our culture to keep us in line, give us a false sense of security, and ensure compliance to keep a faulty system alive.
I believe what we were truly looking for back then was authentic and honest connections - the basic human need that drives our emotional health.
Unfortunately, normalcy requires we try to make those connections through superficiality and meaningless chatter. Deep, thoughtful conversations take time and openness - a willingness to be moved, changed, and enlightened - all things that are not part of what we consider normal.
I challenge each of us to confront the small talk, flashy half-truths, and sexy click-bait language with genuine, honest conversation. Take time to dive deeply into your authentic (weird) self, let the other person (people) know you appreciate their quirkiness, and ask questions that convey your interest and help you understand their point of view.
We will all be richer for the experiences, and normalcy will take a back seat to sincere engagement that builds connections and trust.
Weekly Creative Meditation
This week's news leads with an "ISO" list.
A family donated a computer to DRC-East; we are now looking for a screen, keyboard, and mouse so the kiddos can get it up and running. Please get in touch if you have these things to donate.
After tearing down the DRC-Canton vacuum to figure out why it wasn't working, the kids discovered a few frayed wires in the motor. Needless to say, we are scrapping it. If you have a working vacuum that you would be willing to donate, please let us know.
You can also find a list of items on our Amazon Wishlist. You can order, and the items get sent directly to us.
Stay tuned for our annual funding appeal and an announcement of the dates for our open houses. We hope you will plan on joining us to meet our kids, staff, and families and to see our facilities.
A few scenes from this past week at DRC-East
And a some actions shots from DRC-Canton
What We Know
The grant I have spent the past few weeks writing (obsessing about) was submitted at 7:52 Friday morning, (a full) 16 hours and 8 minutes before the deadline. (Thank you, again, to the folks who offered feedback, expertise, and valuable input.) I can now admit there were a few moments of panic when my MacBook suddenly turned off when I was adjusting a few words while looking it over one final time before clicking the (big blue) "submit" button.
This proposal was written to fund a project with the big fancy name, Healing Through Free Creative Expression - something we provide daily in our non-coercive, self-directed, and innovative environment.
We know that access to open creative expression activities, such as art, music, free play, and movement, is the key to learning positive emotional expression for those who are neurodivergent or have had adverse childhood experiences. Research data supports these claims, and we witness it every - single - day, even for those who do not fall under the aforementioned categories. And our families agree; several of them wrote testimonials to attest to our affirmative impact on their family's lives.
We also know that kids who can express themselves positively - are more curious and are likely to find the natural joy in all their discoveries while learning everything they need to survive and thrive in this world.
This grant will fund additional staff for both Centers. This will relieve me from everyday facilitation to focus on investigating the possibility of opening new Centers in the NoCo for all the children who need us. As part of the grant agreement, I will also develop (with help) a detailed framework of the entire project that other institutions and organizations can use to replicate our methodology within their programs. It will also fund the abundance of supplies, materials, and equipment required for our kids to engage in all that free, open, creative exploration. We have also proposed a two-month summer program at both Centers at no cost to participants from the community who do not have the means to attend summer camps or other activities that come at an inaccessible cost.
We can only hope that the folks who read our proposal will agree with all we know and deem it a necessary project for the health and well-being of the children of the NoCo.
Weekly Creative Meditation
Thank you to the SLU Men's hockey team for coming to the Canton Center for their Make a Difference Day. They spent an hour and a half cleaning inside and raking all the leaves from the yard. We are grateful to be Community Partners with SLU.
We will be holding open houses in December at both Centers. Stay tuned for details.
Scenes from DRC-Canton - including a photo of the fox who decided our backyard was a great place to hang out for the day.
And from DRC-East
Yes, I know, it seems like we, collectively, have been doing nearly three years of the hard stuff - or maybe even farther back to six years. In any case, I am deeply into working on something overwhelming and just plain hard - with a solid deadline that is approaching entirely too fast. Yup, this creative storyteller is writing a grant with pretty significant potential for all of DRC. (No pressure!)
Thankfully, I have help - people who have experience in the fields we are focused on in this project, writing grants, or are skilled in the thing I really "suck" at (researching correlating data). With their support, I think we have a competitive grant.
I have mentioned a few times that I am a writer - but not a grant writer. Maybe, I have to revise that statement - I can write them as long as I am willing to feel completely overwhelmed and uncomfortable by the process and to spend large portions of time floundering in a sea of words that seem to move around at their own volition. And I have people behind me who are willing and, more importantly, not afraid to give suggestions and honest feedback (not platitudes).
We all come up against things we think are not in our wheelhouse. The stuff that makes our heart rate speed up, anxiety levels crest, and make us so uncomfortable we want to avoid them (at all costs).
My point today is that you can do the hard stuff - if it matters enough, you are willing to put in the work and time, ask for help, make mistakes, and if you are prepared to feel uneasy and awkward - maybe even make a fool of yourself.
How do I know this? I just did all that - and in my mind's eye, I am envisioning the email saying, "we are pleased to fund your project."
Weekly Creative Meditation
Both Centers have hit "cruise" mode. The kids are happily engaged, generating their own ideas for what they want to spend their time on.
We are always looking for volunteers to share their interests and talents with our kiddos at either Center. If you would like to spend time with some really cool kids - fill out the volunteer application here.
Scenes from our Canton Crew
Fun times at DRC-East!
As most of you have probably surmised, I don't like to be told what to do or how to do it. And the control I despise the most is manipulation that is so subtle - you have to be hyper-aware or "clued in" to notice.
This came up for me earlier yesterday when I realized I was feeling angry because a word game I play to relax (yes, I get the irony there) forces me (every weekend) to participate in a tournament I have no interest in. I am required to touch the screen to "win" stars to progress to the next word puzzle. It feels "ickily" scammy and unscrupulous (I feel resentful) - yet I choose to continue playing.
Then I began making a few connections. Our entire culture relies on similar manipulations to get us all to behave "normally." Do this so you can get that - sticks and carrots. Even when we could give a flying f**K about the reward - we still participate because it is expected. So much brilliance is hidden behind compliance.
DRC exists purely because I have always done the exact opposite of what is expected. (Yup, I know that means I should probably delete the word game.) My guiding mission is to support all the kiddos who, like me, want to buck the system - to reveal their brilliantly authentic selves to the world and shout, "ready or not, here I come!"
Weekly Creative Meditation
Five weeks in and the DRC-Canton Peeps are hitting their stride. We have a fairly stable schedule of offerings and they are happily engaged in independent (or group) projects and activities that they are interested in.
The DRC-East Crew is settling into their new home. They are creating a wish list of items that they would like to make the space as functional as possible. I will share that with you all next week.
This past week I had a lot of driving time - over to North Lawrence to pack up and drop off "stuff" to a Winthrop storage unit for DRC-East and home to Pierrepont, back yesterday to pick some of it up, deliver it to their new digs in Massena, and then all the way up "the" hill to home. Driving is my thinking time; therefore, last week offered plenty of opportunities to ponder.
Most of you will not be surprised to hear that I identify as a writer. I perpetually have ideas running through my head - even in my sleep (and when I am driving). Playing with words is one thing that makes me insanely happy. Yes, I am a neurodivergent word nerd on the highest level.
This means my brain is wired to get lost in the delight of weaving words together to sound "right" and tell compelling stories. It, however, does not remember grammar, spelling, or punctuation rules - for shit - which is why I write everything in Grammarly - from this weekly blog and social media posts to important emails. (Yes, it is an essential hack I use to keep from embarrassing myself.) The one downside is it flags most adverbs and many adjectives with "word choice." Sorry Grammarly, I like using descriptors. They are delightfully interesting and "chewy" words - you can sink your teeth and imagination into. In that way, I also consider myself an artist.
Will, a gentleman who helped us move the large items yesterday and fix a table, told me about the furniture he makes from repurposed pallets. He explained before he starts projects, he can see things in his mind's eye. Will understands this quirk as the ability to see in the 4th dimension. I told him he is an artist too. Which he immediately scoffed at - it was clearly a label he did not want to own. I am chagrined to say I was insistent on the point - even though he clearly defined himself as a woodworker - plain and simple.
I have to remember - not everyone in this world wants to be an artist. They are happy to imagine and innovate on their own terms - within their own definitions. This is precisely what we need more of in this world - people who are thoroughly, unabashedly, and delightfully themselves. Thank you for reminding me of that, Will.
Weekly Creative Meditation
Much of the week at DRC-Canton was spent in preparation of moving DRC-East - although we still managed to get most of our scheduled sessions in, too.
Spending out shouts of thanks to everyone who has helped to move DRC-East into their new facility. Between two large trailer and truck loads and several overburdened cars, most(!) of the "stuff" has been delivered, from various storage areas, to 47 Perkins Rd. in Massena. Now comes the fun of arranging it all into a space that seems like it was created just for us. Have fun - my East Peeps!
After writing about accommodations last week, I wanted to clarify a few details that occurred to me this past week. Adaptations, tools, and hacks are often viewed as excuses. Excuses are, in actuality, a defense mechanism and the antithesis of ownership. "No, I can't because" means "I won't try" or "I don't want to try."
Whereas adaptations or accommodations are the things that allow people to do "the thing" despite their challenges. These folks don't blame - they want to own everything - including their challenges, struggles, failures, and subsequent triumphs.
To be clear, "no, I can't" excuses are often based on pathologizing neurodiverse diagnoses, previous experiences, and conditioning - which makes folks believe that they sincerely cannot - it is impossible.
Victim mentality is a coping mechanism grounded in a negative view of life that influences everything and is usually a trauma response. Blaming someone or something for their inaction becomes unconsciously habitual. Which subsequently leads to perceived incompetence - "I suck at everything."
This behavior comes from an understanding that life happens to them, and they have no control over outcomes. Refusal to try is the only way to achieve autonomy and keep their internal dialog intact. It becomes second nature to accuse an outside force and to refuse responsibility. Consequently, they don't want to seek a way forward - because it may dissolve their foundational belief and closely held identity that they are incompetent.
Perceived incompetence is a learned behavior. And like anything else, it can be unlearned through hard work, awareness, and persistence. Allowing your true self to emerge without restrictions or masks - is the first step. Your labels and trauma do not negatively define you - they are simply another piece of you that make you uniquely awesome. Developing a positive mindset about yourself, others, and the world, in general, is essential. Instead of, "I can't because..." say, "I can try with these accommodations."
No excuses. I am purely me (and you are purely you) - responsible for setting boundaries, designing hacks and tools that work for me, and living authentically. Because, when more of us are accountable for ourselves and our behaviors and work through all of our "shit," the universe will respond with gratitude.
Weekly Creative Meditation
We have had a ton of fun and adventures at both Centers this past week. Karen and Trader are settling into DRC-East and getting to know everyone there.
DRC-East is moving from North Lawrence to 47 Perkins Rd. in Massena this coming weekend. We need people power more than anything! There are many moving pieces to this endeavor (we have things stored in various places). Please get in touch if you can join us for this opportunity that celebrates community, connection and FUN! Thank you!
As someone who recognized that I identify as neurodivergent decidedly later in life, I am just beginning to navigate through the many layers of what that means to me and the people I share my life with.
After spending the past 57 years masking my sensitivities and "odd" quirks and pushing through the acute discomfort (and "alien-ness"), I have felt my entire life, I find myself struggling to ask for (insist on) the accommodations I need to feel whole. I am also discovering that people don't really believe or understand me because they have witnessed my facade of "OK-ness" for so long.
Firstly I understand that saying someone needs accommodation creates the illusion that they need to be fixed. This couldn't be farther from the truth. We are not ill or broken - our brains just work differently. In general, we are more sensitive to inputs - all the noise, tastes, smells, physical touch, emotions, and visuals. I won't delve into how all those things are often felt as direct hits on our nervous systems. However, I will say I thought my utter exhaustion at the end of each day was natural. I am just now figuring out it is actually the intense response to being assaulted from every direction, every minute of every day.
Secondly, to some, accommodations also represent inconvenience. To them, it just seems hard or impossible to create an environment where everyone is heard, supported, and, above all, comfortable. Many neurodiverse folks turn to coping mechanisms that are unhealthy or straight-up dangerous in direct response to this inflexibility and feelings of societal disconnection.
I suppose the irony here is that I work hard to create a safe space, where connection and accommodations are the key elements, for the people around me and totally ignore my need for the same things. This all goes back to my seeming inability to ask for what I need, which is, I am just now realizing, is directly related to my feelings of guilt - I identify as the caregiver, fixer, and doer.
Accommodations should only be seen as natural adaptations, hacks, or modifications with no stigma or judgment (or guilt). Adaptive technology and research into our neurodivergent brains have come a long way. Now comes the hard work of changing the culture to recognize the benefits of accommodations for all of us. No, we are not "cheating," we are simply asking to use the available tools to live our best (whole, healthy) lives.
*I am currently reading Divergent Minds by Jenara Nerenberg. It has been most helpful on so many levels. I highly recommend it to anyone who suspects they may have a "divergent mind" or know people who do. The North Country Library system currently has two copies.
Scenes from DRC-Canton & DRC-East this past week
Weekly Creative Meditation
We have had two very full weeks at DRC-Canton and are settling into our schedule with tons going on every day.
We are super excited that our new lead staff and mentor, Karen Gagne, is arriving from Vermont on Tuesday evening. I will be there to introduce her to the DRC- East Crew this Wednesday.
Karen will be looking for a place to stay until she finds something more permanent. If you have any leads, please get in touch.
The DRC-East facility is grateful for the use of the Life in His Arms Church until September 29th.
DRC-East will be moving to Massena on October 1st, and we need help. There are large pieces of furniture in Canton, many items in Parishville at a board member's home, and all of the stuff still in the church in North Lawrence. We are looking for trucks or large vehicles and people power to help with this massive undertaking. Please let me know if you are able to help. Thank you!
Many wonder what exactly my job entails considering I do not claim the title of teacher in this non-compulsory, non-coercive, educational environment, where I don't tell kids what to do or when and how to do it.
Beyond the administrative duties that honestly take up more than the equivalent of a full-time position, as someone who naturally thinks outside the box to problem-solve, my day-to-day responsibilities revolve around mentoring, listening, and seeking out opportunities, resources, and materials. Then I step back (get the hell out of the way) to observe the implementation of the ideas generated from those conversations.
I don't ever turn off that piece of my essential self. Every conversation is fodder for my brain to begin working on possibilities. I often have to stop mid-stream and consciously remember to ask the person I am speaking with if they actually want my help or are simply venting.
Sometimes I see the results of my work, but often, I don't. Yesterday, I did. I received a text from someone I spoke with back in May who expressed concern about their 20-something child - he didn't seem to have direction and was floundering. But, the one thing he was fascinated with was medicine. He had considered going to college and majoring in pre-med.; however, that entire process seemed daunting (and expensive). I suggested they look into the process of becoming an EMT. It would offer the opportunity to jump into the medical field - feet first to discover if it is something they want to pursue to the next level.
Well, he did just that. He is enrolled in a program while working for the ambulance service that offers it. Eventually, they will also train him to become a paramedic if that is what he wants to do. He is super excited to begin this journey, and his parent is happy and relieved that he is no longer floundering.
I see myself as a sounding board - someone with a different perspective and experience to bounce ideas off. I don't solve problems so much as guide folks to think about a situation differently - in ways that had not occurred before because they were too deeply entrenched in the puzzle. As the old axiom suggests - "you can't see the forest - for the trees."
But, also "you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink." Within the culture of trust and respect that DRC is built upon, I can only ever listen and offer suggestions. What folks do with those ideas - is totally up to them.
A few photos from this week at Canton & East
Weekly Creative Meditation
We just finished our first week. DRC-Canton is humming with 23 participants. They created a list of classes, projects, and activities - now organized into a schedule that can be found in a Google Calendar on the website.
DRC-East continues to evolve. We met for the first day last Wednesday and will get together a second time this Wednesday.
We will sign the lease for our new space in Massena this coming week and can move in on October 1st.
Additionally, I am delighted to introduce Karen Gagne, our new DRC-East Lead Staff and Mentor, who will start on September 21st.
Karen first joined the DRC board in 2014, and from that moment, she has been our most vocal and passionate supporter. In 2017, she left academia after over twenty-five of teaching, mentoring, and advising young people to move home to Vermont. Nonetheless, even after moving out of state, Karen maintained her head cheer-leading role from a distance.
Karen comes to us with a BA in Social Science (from Hampshire College in Amherst, MA - the school both of my children attended), a MA, and a PhD in Sociology (from SUNY Binghamton), along with a plethora of experience working with youth of all ages.
However, when I asked her personal reference to tell me why Karen is the right choice to lead DRC-East, she immediately began to list Karen's nonacademic attributes leading with her extraordinary levels of compassion and empathy.
Karen is super happy to move back to the NoCo with her dog, Trader (who came from the Potsdam Humane Society), after being away for five years. She is looking forward to meeting all the East Peeps and taking a deep dive into everything they are excited about exploring.
In her words, "I spent my life in school, either as a student or teacher. One day I said it is time for a change."
Welcome back to DRC, Karen! Where school is absolutely optional!
Free play is often labeled frivolous - a pastime for leisure activity after the "work" has been finished. Within that, as a society, we totally discount and discard the necessity of unstructured, undirected play - not only for kids but for us all.
Through free play, children have the unbound opportunity to explore the world around them - as well as their internal landscape. Kids who have unlimited time to play know themselves on a profound level. They independently discover how they learn best through experimentation and exploration. This means they know what they like and what makes them cringe and are not afraid to speak up for themselves. And it proves that learning is natural.
These past three weeks, I was thrown back into this absolute reality. Beyond a morning check-in, to remind them of our one rule - respect yourself, each other, and this place - kids were in charge of their day - until cleanup.
I witnessed (and occasionally assisted in) baking, art, clay, painting, and sewing projects - then stood back and watched the nonstop imaginative action: Legos, plastic animals (and bugs, snakes, and spiders), snap circuit sets, matchbox cars, Lincoln Logs, pretend weddings (with music), made-up live-action video games (and I mean LIVE - including running and wrestling), and smashing coal found in the backyard to try to turn into diamonds.
These kids might not be able to articulate what they learned - either about themselves or the world in general - but man, they had a blast and will remember it as an essential part of their childhood.
After years of watching kids play, I would make an educated guess that humans evolved to learn (at least partly) kinesthetically. However, that has been squashed, for the most part, by our system because actively encouraging a bunch of squirmy, loud, active children in their chaotic, exploratory, and experimental pursuits is not conducive to a "sit down and be quiet" learning environment. I am deeply saddened by how much has been lost - not the least of which is the knowledge that learning is an absolute joy.
Weekly Creative Meditation
Summer Program was an absolute hit! We are so excited that two of our summer kids will be joining our "regular" crew. And families are asking if we will have programming during the February, Mid-Winter and April, Spring Breaks. My answer is always, "if we have staffing," (because, I absolutely need those breaks - to rest and catch up!)
DRC East News - There are lots of changes in the works for DRC_East. As I have mentioned (teased), the Center will be moving from North Lawrence to Massena due to unforeseen complications. The new facility is owned by the Massena Housing Authority and is absolutely perfect for our needs. Unfortunately, we can not begin the lease until October 1st.
In other East News, Angie, our lead staff and mentor has decided not to renew her contract. We are grateful for her contributions this past year and wish her the best. The search to fill that position has begun, and should have news soon. In the meantime, to get us over the initial bumps, the Pastor of the church has graciously said the East crew can meet occasionally in that space.
DRC-Canton is starting with a full roster. We are all looking forward to another amazing year of exploring all of the possibilities together.
Two weeks ago, I met a seven-year-old who went out of his way to assure everyone knew he was the "bad" kid. His "gangsta" presentation extended from his behavior to his very demeanor. He had a chip on his shoulder that could be detected a mile away - toys, imaginative play, and artistic creation were so far beneath him. He made it abundantly clear that he wasn't interested. He pushed, shoved, grabbed, and threw things. Within the first hour, the other kids sensed his intentions, and one actually said, "so X is going to be the troublemaker this week." I shut down that sentiment immediately.
When I took him to a quiet space to talk, he said, "you know I am the bad kid, right?" I looked straight at him and said, "I don't believe that for a moment." He was insistent on getting his point across, "yeah, you can even ask my parents." At that statement, I shook my head and said, "No, you may behave badly sometimes, but you are not a bad person."
The first day or two was rough. I continued to call him out on his inappropriate behavior. However, more importantly, I also engaged him in conversation and showed him that I was interested in him as a person and what he had to say. By the second half of day two, he was sitting and playing alongside other kids. By the middle of the first week, he was instigating imaginative play with other kids, who became happily engaged in his imaginary world. By the middle of the second week, after wandering into the art room and watching other kids sew, he asked if he could make a pillow for a friend from football fabric he found. He ran the sewing machine while I guided the material. He then turned it right side out and stuffed the pillow. That kid was so damn proud that he asked to call his mom to tell her.
Friday was his last day with us, and he was visibly saddened - he tried for bravado, saying that he didn't care, it was boring anyway - but in the next breath was asking why he couldn't be with us the last week of Summer Program (it is over full). When his mom came to pick him up, she asked her standard, "how was he today?" And I responded, per usual, "great." I believe she has been trained to expect the worst and was always anticipating a completely different response. I asked, "have you seen a difference at home?" Her eyes lit up, and she said, "yes!" And went on to list all of the changes. Before he got into the car, I told him I would miss him a lot. He wasn't quite ready for a hug, but he did insist that his mom sign him up for all three weeks of the Summer Program next year!
This is just one of many examples from over the past nine years. To some, the transformations seem miraculous. They ask, what is the secret? No, really, what kind of magic do you perform?
In reality it is quite simple. We provide a safe, noncoercive, and flexible environment - where kids immediately feel comfortably at home. Within that, we listen! We look at the whole child, not the behavior. Which means, we delve beyond the external presentation to see the anxious, scared, or hurt child hidden deeply behind the facade of indifference or anger.
We are always real (no sugar coating here)! We model trust and respect and expect kids to follow our lead. No magic tricks - nothing miraculous - just pure compassion and simple kindness. Beyond that, we encourage every child to drop the mask and unleash their authenticity. Because, at the end of the day, we appreciate and celebrate every child for who they really are - underneath their disguise.
Scenes from Week Two of Summer Program.
Weekly Creative Meditation
Summer Program has been an absolute hit! We have had a blast sewing, creating, exploring, and playing! We have one more week of Summer Adventures.
DRC-East News - We discovered at the end of July that the space that has so graciously accommodated us last year is no longer available. Since then we have been searching for a new home. We are in final negotiations with a landlord in Massena to use a building that is perfect for our needs. We should have a lease signed and sealed in the next few days. Therefore, I should be able to reveal the location next week.
It is surprising (or maybe not) how much time I spend trying to convince people that learning is a natural, fun, lifelong practice. What I try to convey is that - we are all constantly adding to our "data banks" every minute of every day. Yes, even in our sleep.
Learning doesn't require a particular place, time, or materials. The only things you really need are curiosity, an open mind, and an environment (community) where you feel safe and accepted.
I had this exact conversation (again) with an eight-year-old during the first week of the DRC Summer Program. He was busily painting a mural on the back of the shed and said something akin to - I am having a great time - do kids that come here for "school" do this kind of stuff? I responded that they do. He asked in all seriousness, "but when do they learn?" I said, "while they play and do cool projects and activities - like you have done this week." And he responded, "but I haven't learned anything this week."
Instead of banging my head up against the tree, I was leaning on, I took a deep breath and said, "you would be surprised how much you have learned this week. Just because you have not done worksheets and listened to a teacher talk at you doesn't mean you didn't gain new information." He shook his head in disbelief and continued painting.
I find this so, so, so incredibly sad. This extremely bright kid doesn't understand that play, exploration, and having fun are the basis for all learning. In his mind, it can only happen in school - where laborious, monotonous "work" is required.
Is it any wonder that many kids come to DRC jaded, unhappy, anxious, and completely unable to believe that the process of learning can (should) be a joyful experience?
Every single little thing you do today will change you in some way. The simple act of breathing guarantees that statement. It may be that you think about something differently, or it could be a mistake you made, and now you know what not to do.
So, I ask: What made you think a little bit deeper or gave you a reason to pause today? What made you throw up your hands in frustration? What inspired you to dive deeper into your explorations? And what made you laugh out loud in pure glee?
Those are the memories that are stored to be built upon for later use. Which I must point out is a pretty good definition of "learning."
Scenes from the first week of DRC Summer Program '22
Weekly Creative Meditation
The DRC Summer Program is a hit. The kids had a fantastic time this past week. The last two weeks are completely full - therefore registration is now closed.
Last week, I promised news about our DRC-East program. Unfortunately, we don't quite have all the details sorted out yet. Hopefully, next week I will be able to blast some cool news.
These past several weeks, my heart-racing anxiety has reached a seeming point of no return to (my version of) calm and I feel so completely overwhelmed and exhausted with the details and emotions of life and work that even the simplest tasks seem daunting. Add the stress of exploring and remembering to honor the multiple layers of my newly identified neurodiversity, and you have the perfect storm of self-doubt, recrimination, and feelings of ineptitude.
Amid a particularly rough deluge on Friday night, I remembered the simple tool of affirmation. Write it all down - offer it all to the Universe and give myself respite. Today, I present - in this space - recent notes to myself in hopes that these are helpful for whoever needs to hear them.
My message today: you are where you need to be right now. Celebrate and affirm your personal journey - all the bumps and missteps, as well as the surprises and successes. And you will find, as I have, that those statements of affirmation are destined to become manifestations. Your (our) pure awesomeness is a testament to all of that.
Weekly Creative Meditation
Wow, it has been a whirlwind week. An enormous shout of thanks to Molly McMaster, the owner of Miss Molly's Painting. The DRC Canton facility is looking FRESH and so very fabulous. These are a few photos she took after she finished up the front and south side. Next year she will get to the north side and back.
East Facility update - Last week I mentioned that we would not be able to use the church in North Lawrence. Friday we went to look at another option and it seems like it is the ideal space. Next week I will be able to share details!
Summer Program begins tomorrow in Canton. All three weeks are pretty much full - however, we could accommodate one or two more kids each week if there are families who need us.
Accommodations are something everyone needs in one respect or other throughout their lives. Yes, even all you self-described neurotypical folks. And that is precisely where societal expectations and influences have failed us all. We have been led to believe (falsely) that the only people who require them are, in some way, weird, abnormal, or just plain "broken." (OK, honestly, I happily own the "weird" title and have long before I ever fully understood the levels of my neurodiversity.)
We, as a culture, have developed a coded language for those who differ from the norm. They have IEPs (Individual Learning Plans) and own long lists of diagnoses that have acronyms with every alphabetical combination you can imagine. These act as cues (BIG WARNING SIGNS) for the "normal" folk.
We are, in essence, telling the neurodiverse and disabled that they need to be fixed. They can't (are not allowed to) fit into society - as they are -because they make everyone else uncomfortable.
Therefore, we have programs, such as ABA (that are horribly designed and executed), IEPs with accommodations (that are pure bullsh*t and don't help many), and to top it all off - a population that fully believes that providing assistance is a waste of time and dollars. And anyone who does seek help is a drain on us all.
So instead of committing our resources to mental health and social service providers, we over-fund police departments and watch people who struggle go through an unjust, unabashedly cruel system.
At this point, I realize this has become a much longer post (rant) than originally intended. I don't want to lose the talking point that initially inspired this piece - we all need accommodations at some point in our lives.
I spend my days offering unconditional support to every person I meet. I honestly want them to have whatever they need to progress and thrive. Kindness, empathy, trust, and respect do not cost a dime. I have been asked - "doesn't your generosity get abused - I mean, don't you get burned occasionally?" The answer to that question is - yes, I have - (more than) a few times. Nonetheless, that will not stop me from joyfully continuing the practice of accommodating anyone who requests my help.
"Pull yourself up by the bootstraps" is a euphemism that doesn't account for the long lists of trauma-induced disadvantages that most of us spend our lives unpacking and reconciling. Everyone needs an IEP (or, better yet, an ILP - Individual Life Plan). I have to ask - why wouldn't that be standard practice?
Weekly Creative Meditation
As I alluded to last week - we have encountered a barrier to DRC-East using the church in North Lawrence that makes it hard for us to continue there.
Which means we are "down to the wire" and once again seeking another facility on the East side of St. Lawrence County or even in Western Franklin County - including Brasher, Winthrop, N. Lawrence, Hopkinton, Nicholville, Massena, or Moira. We need a space that is at least 1500 sq. ft. and has a kitchen. Ideally, it is something we can rent with the potential of purchasing. If you are local and have any possible leads - please get in touch. Thank you!
Summer Program - register today! We start next Monday the 15th!
This particular curve ball, last week, hit the strike zone high and inside - where I never saw it coming. I didn't have a chance to swing or react preemptively. (Now, before you get all impressed with the usage of that baseball metaphor. I will confess that I know just enough about some sports to sound knowledgeable. But honestly, it is all just superior observation skills.) As a side note, these talents are enormously helpful when you wear as many hats as I do.
I won't go into detail (today) - however, I wanted to use this incident to showcase our ability to (literally and figuratively) turn on a dime. To say I am proud of this reputation is an understatement.
Many parents find us because they are overwhelmingly frustrated that no one ever listens to their child or them. And to go even further, the system is so rigid in their stance of "this is the way we do things" that these kids are traumatized by their methodology.
When families sit in my office and tell their stories - I listen. No matter how long it takes. Then, often, through many interruptions of more heartbreaking tales, I tell them about DRC - our philosophy and mission - and what we do here on any given day. As you can imagine, it is usually the polar opposite of their experience, and they are blown away.
Everything that we do hinges on one thing - flexibility. If something isn't quite right - we will figure it out together. If a kid wants to explore something that seems impossible - we will find a way (eventually).
At DRC, we are constantly modeling problem-solving skills (otherwise known as the scientific method). Learn as much as possible about the situation, ask questions, brainstorm and think outside every box ever created, play and experiment with the ideas, fail, reject early drafts, and find the answer.
These kids are learning that curve balls are an inevitable part of life - and we will all get blindsided occasionally. The lesson here is to get up (bandage your cuts, scrapes, and bruised ego), explore all the possibilities and (most importantly) the potential buried within the fallout, and move, although sometimes clumsily, with as much grace and gratitude as you can muster - toward the solution.
Weekly Creative Meditation
Thank you to the Foster/Peet crew for taking care of some of the maintenance issues at the Canton Center last Sunday. There is plenty more to do... If you are a handy person with "fix it" skills, please get in touch. We will gratefully accept your offer to help.
Summer Program - begins in two weeks. There are a few spaces left - register today.
This, as it turns out, is an unintended follow-up to last week's post. I have had several ideas circling and cycling through my brain these last few days- but none have cooperated enough to be wrangled into something worthy of my (or your) time.
So with that explanation - I am officially honoring my artistic process and allowing these creative meditations (inspired by the industrious tiny creatures in my garden), which presented themselves and poured out without hesitation, to speak for me this week. Enjoy!
Summer Program is filling up. Don't let your child miss out! Register today.
Have you noticed? Procrastination and guilt are the very best of buddies. They show up prepared - one with cozy blankets, some good books, and a streaming device, and the other follows close behind with snacks - ready to settle in for a while.
I often wonder, seems this is the case - why do I put things off? I am not talking about the small stuff - here, either.
For me, (I think) it comes down to the fear of screwing up those big projects - the inevitable mistakes and the myriad of responsibilities that follow once they have been completed.
For instance, a few days ago, I finally self-published the second book in my children's series as an e-book - twelve years AFTER the first was published and fifteen years after I finished writing it. Yeah, I procrastinated the first one too.
My excuse for the second book was that I didn't have any illustrations (my artist had grown up, left home, gone to college, and got married - jeesh!). And despite my many efforts to find someone to take on the task - it never happened. This past week, I actually figured out how to solve that issue. Duh - I have the tools to create something myself!
Seems I was on a roll - I also made the first one in the series available as an e-book and republished the paperback. I will make the second one accessible in paperback later today, too.
You would think I would feel all the happy emotions - pride, relief, joy... This is not the case - now I feel dumb, super guilty for taking so long, and overwhelmed by the next step - self-promotion. Which, as many of you understand, is not my jam.
There are other biggish things that I put off, too - at this moment, it is a significant grant that I know we will likely get. And the piece that makes it even worse is I literally have the playbook from others (thank you, my LL Peeps) that have written it and received the funding.
Sometimes, I remember to give myself a break - some grace. I am a firm believer in the beneficence of the Universe. She is guiding me - even though this feels (looks) like procrastination, maybe it is simply waiting until everything aligns for the most favorable outcome. Or am I possibly selling myself a line of bull to feel better? (Pass the snacks, please.)
In any case - I am motivated to write (copy & paste) that grant - today or tomorrow... and to start on the book promotion. The links are below. Please share.
May you too find the guidance, inspiration, and grace from the Universe - that informs you (when, how, and where) to do all those things you aspire to.
Weekly Creative Meditation
Summer Program - register today!
The Schoolhouse Gang Series:
Welcome to Streamside! This is the small country schoolhouse in Northern New York where the Schoolhouse Gang - a group of ten-year-old best friends share everything. Follow along on their adventures as they play and learn together.
I will have paperback copies of both in the next few weeks, if you would like to purchase them from me (I will also "make" more by selling them directly). Shoot me a message if you would like either or both. That will help me determine how many to order.
Earlier this week, I wrote the following on social media. It accompanied the haiku that I am using as today’s creative meditation.
Weekly Creative Meditation
Summer Programs - So sorry to announce that we have cancelled the DRC-East Summer Program. There was not enough interest to make it viable.
However, summer program at the Canton facility, during the last three weeks of August, will be running. They have become a beloved tradition for many local families. The program is designed to offer opportunities for hands-on exploration, creativity, and fun that children crave. DRC provides a space filled with resources and materials where kids are encouraged to explore their interests freely.
Don't let your kids miss out on this opportunity - register today.
As weird as it may sound, this is a love letter to myself firstly - which, as I am discovering, is many years overdue. Let me back up and tell this story from the beginning. As you can imagine, I intend for this post to reveal some highly personal truths, and I will likely cry multiple times while writing it. Fortunately, my tears won't influence the readability like it would if this was on paper instead of your screen.
Over the past several months, as I become more conversant with ASD, I have become increasingly aware that I am neurodivergent and likely autistic. However, I shied away from sharing my suspicions with people close to me (or even admitting it to myself) for many reasons - not the least, the fear of appearing fraudulent and attention-seeking.
Then last week, I traveled to the Liberated Learners Conference in N.J. with Bridget, a DRC board member. One of the workshops, "Supporting Autistic Youth at a Liberated Learners Center," was facilitated by JayJay, an autistic staff person from Bay State Learning Center near Boston, MA, who is also an activist. I should also mention that they presented via a virtual platform.
I honestly don't remember much of the actual presentation - because after they explained how, unfortunately, society, at large, views autism as a disorder - a pathology that needs to be fixed - they began to talk about traits that many autistic people share. They listed all the usual suspects associated with ASD and then finished the list with "dyspraxia and face blindness."
One more step backward in this tale - during our nearly seven-hour drive to the conference, I had mentioned in passing that I am extremely clumsy and always feel like I am not quite centered in my body - just a "half a bubble off of plumb," as the saying goes. And that I also experience a mild form of face blindness. I mostly recognize people by their mannerisms and the way they move.
When JayJay uttered those words, I turned to Bridget, and she turned to me, and I burst into messy, snotty, throat-clogging tears. I couldn't get it together enough to ask all the questions. But, I did manage to say (and gesture), through the lump in my throat - "that is me."
To say everyone in the room (including JayJay) was overwhelmingly supportive would be an understatement. The hugs were tight. The unconditional love, acceptance, and understanding of all my pent-up emotions and years of frustration were in plain view. And most importantly, they all acknowledged the validity of my statement, "I am autistic." This is just one of the many reasons I am so very grateful to have these people in my life.
To be clear, owning this label does not change the essential me. What it does - is allow me to fully embrace and unmask that quirky, weirdly geeky, smart, socially awkward, sensory sensitive, creative, "half a bubble off of plumb" little girl inside - who has been hiding (for 57 years) because she never understood her place in the world.
This leads me to my final two points: Autism is not a disease. Full Stop! We are not sick - just differently wired. Which doesn't make us any less - only different. We don't want or need to be pathologized, remediated, or "fixed" in any way.
And secondly, we can advocate for ourselves - as a group and as individuals. We don't need or want neurotypical (conformists) to lead the charge - needless to say, all you neuro-"typs" are more than welcome to join us as a support network. We want to be completely clear that we are not puzzle pieces waiting for you to fit us into the spaces you deem appropriate because we make you uncomfortable.
Autistic people are fully capable of self-advocacy and activism. We are also permitted to, individually, take our places in this world that feel right to each of us - that allow us to be our unmasked, authentic selves.
It is not lost on me that autistic people generally have a shorter life span. This is accounted for in several ways - 1) we are often forced through behavior therapy (ABA) to become "normal" versions of ourselves. 2) this often results in serious mental health issues, and 3) we are shunned and not given a legitimate place in society, which means we are often pushed aside without homes, work, or healthcare.
This is the main reason I requested the above workshop. A good number of the young people who find DRC are autistic - many undiagnosed. I wanted to know how DRC can help them be themselves in a world that desires and forces normalcy and perfection.
In a roundabout way, I found my answer - we simply do what we have always done - provide a safe environment and support them with as many accommodations as they need to joyfully celebrate their purely, unmasked, and fiercely genuine selves.
*Note: JayJay's FB page can be found here. It is a great place to begin learning about ASD from an autistic person.
Weekly Creative Meditation
Summer Programs: The DRC-East three themed programs begin on July 11th. Currently, we do not have a minimum number to make the program financially viable, and if that is the case, we will not run it. Please get in touch before Tuesday the 5th if your child is interested.
I have been updating the DRC website over the past few days. Please take a look and let me know if there any links not working - thanks. PS - I know that the Navigation Menu is not showing up on the blog page. Apparently, it is a Weebly issue that has occurred for other folks too.
Profit. When every single societal system is based on the accumulation of dollars - human connection is the inevitable collateral. In a market-driven capitalist economy, someone makes money when people suffer - whether it be healthcare, education, religion, governmental (political), food, etc.
Historically, those with the money and power use propaganda to divide - pitting one subset of the population against another - black and brown against white, poor against middle-class, Conservative against Liberal, college-educated against working folks, gay against straight... They continuously create and feed reasons for strife and disconnection - which ultimately drives profits.
I believe we are at a point in history when folks are becoming more aware of this blatant manipulation. I see it in the adrenaline-fueled frantic escalation of the wealthy and powerful efforts and doubling down on insanely harmful policies.
And I see it in the faces of the people who are going the extra mile to creatively disregard the boxes they have been placed inside. And abandon their personal biases and compulsion to judge folks - to destroy divisiveness and make vital connections within their community.
I have said before - radical change will be driven by grassroots engagement across our culture. Designing reasons and spaces to connect authentically with compassion is the key - because our very humanity is at stake.
These photos are a prime example. Folks from all walks of life came together to honor the memory of Don Butters, a cherished elder member of the NoCo, by delivering rocks of all sizes and finishing the last 33 of the 1000 ft of stonewall he built during his years here.
Weekly Creative Meditation
Summer Programs - register here.
DRC is a member of the Liberated Learner Network. I am super excited to see everyone at our annual conference held this year - June 22nd-24th at Raritan Learning Cooperative in Flemington, NJ. We have not been together in two years - I can not wait to see "my" people! I desperately need to soak up their shared wisdom and celebrate this "thing" we do.
In personal news - my son and daughter-in-law, Ian and Cassidy, will be visiting from Chicago, this coming weekend. Therefore, there will likely not be a blog post next week.
Happy Solstice! Enjoy the first week of summer!
I have been thinking a lot about rules lately and their role in how we (our children) learn. You all have heard me claim that I don’t follow them - just for the sake of it. If something makes absolutely zero sense and no one will get hurt, I will find another way. I believe that creativity, outside-the-box thinking, flexibility, exploration, experimentation, empathy, and modeling are essential to learning.
Nonetheless, I usually end up having to explain. Yes, we need to abide by the laws of society that keep us all safe. I would classify most of these as “duh” regulations. You know the ones: Stop at red lights, drive the speed limit-ish on the right side of the road, and follow all of the rules of the road (with a driver's license). Do not burn your trash or throw pollutants into the water source (rivers and streams), and wear a mask when there is a public health crisis that has the potential of killing off portions of the community...
But then there are the arbitrary laws that have the outside appearance of being good for all, but were probably created because some special interest groups lobbied (and lied to) lawmakers and convinced (paid) them to pass the legislation. Case in point: On Wednesday morning, I went to the grocery store before 7:30 to pick up the few items on my list. The older gentleman ahead of me at the checkout only had a 12-pack of expensive IPA. The clerk told him she could not sell him alcohol before 8am. He shrugged and simply said, “I will have to come back after work then,” and left. I did not say anything to the cashier – instead, I politely conversed with her while she scanned my groceries and bagged them. But, in my head, I was thinking, what in the actual #*&%? How in the *&$% is this helpful? Anyone who wants to drink will. Not being able to buy it between certain hours will not stop someone from driving drunk.
Let me take a step back. The science is clear - modeling (showing, not telling) is one of the ways we humans learn best. Yet our actions and behaviors pretend this is not true. Think about the thousands of unspoken messages our children receive every day. And the hypocrisy held within each.
We have a law that says someone of legal age (even that is ridiculous compared to the rest of the world) cannot purchase beer before 8 am on a weekday morning, and yet… fill in the blank with all of the things that should be legislated but are not. And you know that the very same dodgy, unethical methods are being used by the smugly pious, self-riotous powers that be - to keep those laws off the books.
When will we use common sense and ethical and equitable ideals to shape the laws of the land? It obviously is not going to be determined by how many people (children) - die senselessly. Or by the number of people who - have to fight institutional racism every moment of their lives, are refused justice and go to prison for minor infractions, go hungry and homeless, are denied female reproductive rights and equality, don't get timely, quality healthcare - including mental healthcare, and are traumatized by the system itself. Not to mention the multitude of folks who struggle daily to fully be their authentic selves in this biased (sanctimonious) world.
Our children are watching closely. They understand that our very lives are being manipulated for the sake of wealth and power or to phrase it even more succinctly - the power that wealth commands. Changing our culture takes on new meaning and importance when you comprehend the lessons being learned by our youngest citizens, and all that is at stake.
Weekly Creative Meditation
Summer Programs will be held at both Centers. DRC-East offers three weeks of themed programming in July. DRC-Canton offers Imagination Station for three weeks in August. Register today.
As mentioned last week, DRC has created a sponsorship program. Each level provides specific thank yous. I have started painting the base for Gratitude Mural at the Canton facility where those contributing on the Mentor level will have their name and chosen quote (or business name and logo) painted in. Those donating at the Explorer Level will have a stair riser painted with their name and chosen quote. Learn how you can help change a life, here.
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