We are like a weird little family, quipped 15-year-old Emmy upon returning from our Water, Woods, & Wild Wonder adventure at my house, in the forests of Pierrepont, this past Tuesday. She was referring directly to the conversations and interactions that occurred while we were playing in the snow and then warming up inside by a roaring fire with hot cocoa and a variety of spirited discussions. This sentiment, however, has been employed repeatedly to describe the emotional climate at DRC, and, was expressed perfectly by 17-year-old Chase in hisDRC Voices profile – It feels like home and we are all like family here ...
The warm and inviting environment is immediately evident upon entering the Chill Space, which has been intentionally designed to look and feel like the comfiest room in any home. It truly is the hub of DRC, where kids of all ages return time and again throughout the day to - eat, play, read, draw, plan activities, hold the rabbit and kittens, pet the dog, and most importantly talk and laugh. They discuss everything from the most mundane to incredibly profound and back again. The one commonality, within each exchange, is the underlying tone of kindness and respect for each other and their differing opinions. And, if that falters in anyway, just like family, they remind each other – with just a few words.
Beyond the comfort of the physical space, our students, from their very first day, become part of a cohesive group, who care deeply for each other. When someone is experiencing some form of crisis (big or small), without being prompted, they provide emotional support to each other by offering a hug or sometimes just sitting quietly with them. At times, they may not even know or fully understand the cause of the sadness. In addition, they recognize when someone is feeling challenged by a project, something academic, or daily life (such as: putting their boots on) and drop what they are doing to help out.
Why do I contend that fostering a culture of kindness is the most important thing we do at DRC?
Our kids (students), quite simply, know, without a doubt, that they belong here – this is where they are accepted unconditionally, they can be themselves, their ideas are relevant, and they are important. And, within that belonging, they are able to celebrate the unique genius of others. Once their emotional needs have been satisfied – they can begin to dream about the future, discover their passions, define their goals, and positively shine with ambition. At DRC, we understand that struggling and hurting, alone, does not make anyone stronger; it only ensures isolation and pain. However, working together, collaboratively, not only assists that one troubled person, it builds a strong, compassionate, and dynamic community where everyone has a valuable role and feels like they belong.
DRC accepts applications for membership throughout the academic year. If you feel this is the place where your child will thrive - please contact us to discuss the next steps.