Most visitors, who are just learning about Deep Root Center and our philosophy, are understandably skeptical when I tell them, that on any given day, you cannot tell the difference between the kids who joined DRC a week ago from the ones who have been with us for a couple of years. In addition, parents don’t quite understand this concept until they see their own child completely enveloped within our amazing community the day after they join us.
I spend a lot of time thinking about and marveling at this particular phenomenon. Is it the environment or is it this grouping of random kids? Perhaps it is our philosophy along with the absence of a list of finite rules. If you asked me at this moment, based on the cohesiveness of this particular group of kids, my response would be all of the above.
We work hard to create a cozy, comfortable, and non-institutional feeling space – filled with all those things you would find in your own home. The front door opens into our “chill space,” which is set up like any living room, including the cubbies and lockers often filled to overflowing with boots, coats, and backpacks, along with stray socks, and other minutiae of everyday life. Our kitchen, with the exception of the labels on the cupboards, is like any other, a gathering space, with open access to anyone who is hungry or wants to cook for the group. The art room and all of the creative supplies, the music room filled with instruments, the Seedlings Room and the toys, the classroom with all its books, and the front porch and huge backyard are all free and open to anyone who wants to use them. There are no barriers here (except for the stairs, unfortunately) or secret codes. Everyone is welcome anywhere at this facility.
The combination of kids is always changing – new kids arrive, some leave, others show up infrequently – the common denominator will always be their desire to be here. They come from all walks of life, with unique perspectives and ideologies, and they are each dealing with various difficult circumstances. Nevertheless, even within all those differences, they recognize kindred spirits here and allow their defense mechanisms to relax. We all get to know each other on a deep level because we have the time, space, and freedom to do that. We all feel safe to open up and share our fears, dreams, aspirations, and our past experiences.
Absolutely, yes, it is these amazing, open, and inspirational kids; however, it is also the foundational philosophy that allows for those things to happen. They understand clearly that no one will judge them, and that our one rule – respect yourself, each other and this place - will always stand. They know they will never be forced to do something they do not want to do. They also understand that we appreciate each of them for who they are, and for the gifts, they bring to the community.
Therefore, when the inevitable question pops up during intake meetings or phone calls - asking how many days their child would have to attend the Center each week - my answer will always be, “we are building a community here, and if your child is not here often enough, they will eventually feel like they are not part of that community; however, with that consideration, they are free to come as often as they would like or can.”
The DRC community is welcoming, organic, and flexible, and will always reflect the people who are here on any given day, including visitors and volunteers. This is why I can always look forward to the awesomeness of tomorrow – knowing that it will never be the same as today.
The DRC staff has experienced some changes. Christopher Raymo, after a brief leave of absence, has resigned for personal reasons. We miss him greatly and wish him well in his endeavors.
I am excited to announce that Elian Erickson, has joined the DRC staff. He will be with us every day and is looking forward to being a member of the DRC community and specifically facilitating math and science classes and one-on-one sessions. Stay tuned for an in-depth profile of Elian in the next couple of weeks. This was made possible through the St Lawrence County One-Stop Career Center and their program to place young adults in work-sites around the County to gain valuable skills for future employment. I am beyond grateful that Elian brought this amazing program to my attention.
Exploration Station Suite of Extended Services
February Break - Register your child today!
Afternoon Programs – drop in options are available – register here.
Snow day coverage – DRC facilities and staff will be available for local school snow days – per day fees apply. Learn more here.
Sap Run (walk) 5 & 10K
Deep Root Center and The Yoga Loft are teaming up to co-sponsor this 5 & 10K run (walk) to be held on March 28th at the Remington Trail in Canton. Play on joining us and register online. Your registration fee benefits both The Yoga Loft and Deep Root Center.