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.
This past week, near the end of a long conversation, the other person said, "it is ridiculous that DRC is still financially unstable, eight years in." Their point is unarguably valid - we should not be. Nonetheless, this is reality, and we are not unique - it is the fate of so many not-for-profits. Our situation is compounded by the fact that many families who seek our services can't afford anything close to the full fee required to operate on a non-austerity level. Even asking our families to pay a more reasonable minimum (which we will be doing) - does not get us close to the number we need to pay our staff a living wage.
Bootstrapping is not for everyone. Only the folks who are 100% committed to a mission and dedicated to the survival of an organization - no matter what - understand the instincts that drive those of us who do it. Yes, it is understood that a living wage is necessary for the employees, and it is why we work so hard.
Would our situation be different if we used the term - mission-driven organization instead of a not-for-profit? It might.
Deep Root Center is fully powered by our mission. We just happen to have a 501c3 - because that model makes the most sense. DRC provides a safe, flexible educational environment for kids who dare to take charge of their education and life. DRC would be fully funded if I had a dollar for everyone I spoke with over the past eight years who fully agreed - asking, "where was DRC when I needed it?"
Therefore, I don't believe our fiscal issues come down to relatability or comprehension of what we do. But, what about urgency - have we expressed that enough? Have we told an adequate number of stories? What about relationship building - have we done enough of that?
I can't answer those questions - that is where you all come in. What can DRC do to attract more funders?
And with that, I have a few other questions: would you be willing to commit to sponsoring a DRC student member with a monthly or yearly contribution? Would you consider sharing this with your network to spread the word? Do you know any locally owned companies who have found success that would be able to sponsor a DRC member?
With your help, we can get beyond (this ridiculous reality of) bootstrapping. Bootstraps are perfectly suited for boots - not (so much) organizations with a mission committed to creating cultural change. Thank you!
Weekly Creative Meditation
The DRC-Canton lawn showcases our commitment to all of our kids, the pollinators, the native children stolen from their families, and our entire community.
DRC is hosting some work days at the Canton Center. Everyone is welcome to help out. We have a long list of inside and outside tasks that that need to be completed before Summer Program begins August 15th. The next workday is Saturday June 11th from 10-2. Some tasks require particular skill sets and others are for the rest of us. We can't promise that Digby Doo will look on with anything but disdain. Nonetheless, I will be deeply grateful for your help. Please let us know if you plan on coming out to help.
DRC-East Summer Program
We are exploring the idea of having a Summer Program at DRC-East in North Lawrence during the month of July (after July 4th week). Please pass this info to anyone in your network and please be in touch if you or anyone you know may be interested. It will have different programming opportunities and will be geared to children 7 and up. One week in particular will be 12 and up.
DRC-Canton Summer Program
We already have five families signed up. This program will likely be full - register today.
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