A Safe Space in an Unsafe World
Beyond open, non-coercive, and non-compulsory, the word I use most often to describe the DRC environment is “safe.” Our student members are safe from bullying and manipulation, on all levels - from physical to emotional. I can make that promise when they are here; however, as we recently discovered, I cannot, when they go out into that competitive world where, some people use retaliation, cruelty, and vindictiveness, to “win” life.
Some would say, “but, how is that helping them, won’t they expect to be protected everywhere? You can’t shield them from reality.”
That isn’t the point! So often, kids unintentionally present themselves as targets because they feel inferior, defeated, or just plain sad. They emit an unconscious signal of vulnerability and defenselessness to those who will, without a second thought, take advantage of their personally perceived victim-hood.
The DRC environment is filled with staff and volunteers who genuinely care. Not only do we model self-assurance, self-motivation, humor, and ability to be our true selves, we also meet everyone here with empathy, respect, and thoughtfulness.
In our role as mentors, we guide each student to be assertive yet kind, personally motivated yet unselfish, strong yet flexible, influential and inspiring yet humble, curious yet attentive, imaginative yet honest, and above all we encourage them to be gentle, trusting spirits without becoming vulnerable targets. In doing so, we are teaching them to respond to bullying with a calm, poised demeanor – to walk away from any maliciously inspired conflict with confidence, as well as compassion, instead of wallowing in self-pity, berating themselves, and blaming others for their feelings of inadequacy.
In guaranteeing safety, we are pledging that DRC is the place where kids can learn how to be their best, most authentic selves by making mistakes and exploring all the world has to offer without dealing with people who don’t have their best interest in mind. Then with those new-found skills and confidence levels, they can boldly venture beyond their carefully cultivated comfort zone to discover what they can offer to their community, as well as the wider world.
Thank you to everyone who came out to the DRC Silent Auction this past Tuesday. It was a tremendous success and a ton of fun. We are grateful to everyone who donated goods and services. Please check out the page on the website to see all of the donors.
Yes! Believe it or not, summer is just around the corner. We are developing some cool collaborations and ideas for these last two weeks of summer, including an hour of yoga with Kelly Newman Burnham each day. Stay tuned! Register online here.
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