If we broke everything down that we do daily at DRC, you would see the very essence of our work comes down to one thing - dreams. We support and encourage young people reach beyond their anxiety, sadness, or even apathy to recognize and understand that it is possible to have aspirations because:
While orchestrating all the above, we also have a few dreams of our own, including:
If you, too, dream of all children having access to a place where they are free to be themselves, can express their brilliance and creativity, and where they are encouraged to explore all the possibilities - please consider becoming involved with Deep Root Center. You can:
Dreaming is powerful; hope is essential, and faith is potent. Nonetheless, it is beneficial to remember that getting the job done - requires the vision and strength of many people, contributing and working hard, together, toward the goal. Thank you for dreaming along with us.
Weekly Creative Meditation
It wasn't until fairly recently that I began to question the basic premise of the Thanksgiving Holiday. Like most other points of World history, it has been whitewashed and otherwise sanitized into a more palatable and easily digestible narrative for general consumption. What a great way to teach young children about cooperation and sharing without traumatizing them with the realistic concepts of genocide, Manifest Destiny, colonialism, and Eurocentrism. #sarcasm!
In any case, despite its misleading beginnings, this blog is not about the blatantly falsified set of historical facts we have all learned through our years of sitting in compulsory Social Studies classes in school. It is, however, about the actual name of the holiday - Thanks Giving.
This year we have an eight-year-old who seems perpetually discontented, displeased, annoyed, and frustrated. This kids' rotten mood tends to hover wherever he has been within the Center, infecting those who are also in the room.
Several weeks ago, after taking the kids' temp at the door and noting it in our COVID log, I asked if they would consider a daily exercise with me before joining any other activity. They agreed. I quickly explained the idea of gratitude. How positive circumstances are attracted to positive emotion in the same way that negative is drawn to negative.
They seemed to grasp the concept. I then asked them to name two things that they were thankful for right at that moment. They struggled. I asked if they would like some examples. They nodded - so I started to list several things that I was grateful for that day - before I got to the third item on my list, they interrupted with one of their own. After they gave two, I said, "OK, this is fantastic. We can do this every day as you come in. We will post it right here on the cork board hanging next to my desk and call it your gratitude list." They interrupted me again, before I could finish - asking if they could name a third thing. To which I responded, "of course!"
Has this exercise worked entirely? No - this child is still pretty gloomy a good portion of the time. Nevertheless, they are more cognizant of that mood and its effect on others when gently brought to their attention. And in doing so, we can often elicit a few giggles.
I have discovered over my 57 years, and through lengthy periods of my own doom and gloom, that thankfulness and gratitude are the keys to contentment and joyfulness - those elusive emotions we try to grasp extrinsically through stuff and our expectations of others. If I can share these ideas of expressing appreciation with kids at a young age, maybe they will begin to recognize the joy found within the smallest blessings within themselves. And then share it with others. I have faith that one child at a time, who feels happiness and serenity through the act of giving thanks - we will eventually spread a new way of being in this world.
Weekly Creative Meditation
On the subject of gratitude - thank you to everyone who has contributed so far to my Facebook Birthday Fundraiser and the DRC annual Funding Appeal. You have heard us say it many times - every child deserves a safe, supportive, educational environment where they are free to be themselves within a supportive community that belongs to them. Your contributions make it possible for us to provide that place for anyone who seeks it out.
Thank you to my brother, Pete, founder of RelHemp for telling me about Linktr.ee. You can find all of DRC's important links here.
Please share the funding appeal within your network. Thank you!
And best wishes to everyone setting aside time this week to share expressions of gratitude with family and friends.
This past Wednesday, as I was driving home from North Lawrence (after helping to move all of the DRC-East "stuff" to their new facility), the word surprise, along with a picture of my baby, Kenzie sitting on my living room couch - flashed onto my phone screen. What? How? All the questions sped through my mind.
They could not believe that I was surprised. You see, I am, by my very nature extremely hard, to catch unaware - when it comes to anything like this.
Surprises, by their very definition, are things that seemingly spring from nowhere. They can be amazingly wonderful or seriously dreadful. Few fall in between those two extremes. I have learned that it is how I respond to the unpleasant shocks that will determine how I ultimately deal with them - both emotionally and outwardly.
When I react to them with frustration, anger, and disappointment, they seemingly grow to an unwieldy, unbearable size that completely overwhelms all my senses.
If I can view them from a perspective of curiosity and adjust to problem-solving mode almost immediately, I can accept whatever it is much more quickly and move on.
To be clear, both of the above scenarios have been present in my life as of late. Even with the understanding that positive begets positive, I fall into the trap of reacting with despair and "why me's" way more than I care to admit.
Here is wishing that all of your surprises are pleasant - but if they are not, that you will be able to respond with inquisitiveness, creativity, love, and kindness.
Weekly Creative Meditation
Both Centers will be open in person again this week! We are so excited to see all of our Peeps again.
DRC-East is now located at 1952 St. Hwy 11C in North Lawrence in the Life in His Arms Community Church. Thanks to the help of a few kiddos and their families, we moved everything from the old space last Wednesday. They are excited to hop back into all of the projects and activities they had begun early in the year.
DRC has a few potential opportunities for fundraising and general development. One: DRC is seeking folks who appreciate our work, may have fundraising, grant writing, or networking skills, and would be excited to join our board of directors. Two: We are investigating the potential of putting together several pieces of a puzzle that will enable us to purchase the church that DRC-East is now renting. We are seeking funding, but also people who can help with the entire endeavor. Please get in touch with Maria to learn more about either of these opportunities.
Our annual appeal is below. If you have not already, please consider contributing to our work. Thank you!
I have discovered that, for the most part, people are insanely grateful to hear "yes," in response to a request. Only because they are so accustomed to experiencing all the "nos."
My question is, why, as a society, do we automatically go to "no," when we know that the affirmative brings with it positive results.
Student members, parents, and staff at Deep Root Center learn very quickly that I will say "yes," to most requests, sometimes with the caveat, "we don't do that (have that) now, but we can figure it out - together."
Again, I ask, why would you say "no," when "yes," inspires creativity, innovation, self-motivation, confidence, conviction, connection, and engagement every damn time.
Oh, trust me, I totally understand that a "yes" often means - more work, more mess, and much more overall hassle; nonetheless, it is utterly worth seeing the smiles and the engaged connectivity where there was formerly none. And the willingness to work harder toward a common goal because they understand that someone trusts them - explicitly and without question.
Weekly Creative Meditations
There seems to be an abundance of news this week. Firstly, we are excited to announce that Angie, Nic, and the DRC-East Crew have found a new home at the "Life in His Arms Community Church" in North Lawrence. We will be renting - but hope to buy the property in the next several months. It combines all of the requirements we would want in a facility including: a commercial kitchen and full ADA compliance, to be the perfect space for us. An enormous thank you to Pastor Belle for agreeing to rent the space to us until we can raise the funds to purchase it.
Secondly, in an abundance of caution, the Canton Center had to close this past week until Nov. 15th due to a positive COVID case. We take our kid's and staff's safety very seriously.
Thirdly, Nic, our DRC-East apprentice, is looking to get a subscription to MineCraft Realms for all of our kiddos. This is just one opportunity to sponsor specific subscriptions. You will find our Funding Appeal below or click here to go to the Donation page. You can specify what you would like your contribution to go towards in your message to us. Find Nic's message below -
We are looking for a sponsor to help fund a Minecraft Realms server! This would allow students to connect with friends in a virtual world and show off creativity in a virtual setting with their peers. Every month there will be a building prompt for the students, and the buildings that follow said prompt they complete will be "screenshotted" for social media to show how creative all of us can be. If you're willing to help, all we need is $96/year or $8/month to keep a creative space for students flourishing and functional. Thank you for your time, and we hope you have a wonderful November! - Nic
DRC Funding Appeal
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