It’s a Process

The following is an excerpt from a series of essays by a TCS parent.

Several years before The Community School (TCS) was established, I had the good fortune to meet Dave Nelson, the man who was destined to become [TCS’s] founder. Dave has been a person of interest in our family for so long that I can’t remember exactly how or when or where we first met.

However, I have a growing collection of memories … starring Dave and The Community School … that qualify as poignant, and ultimately life-altering experiences.

These experiences are memorable for their ingenuity, humor, and humanity. They didn’t seem to be watershed events as they occurred. They simply opened my mind to possibilities. They quietly shifted the course of my relationship with my son, Will.

These stories are just a few highlights of our connections to … TCS, a unique and remarkable school with an extraordinary staff. Dave and his entire team are truly the most intuitive and impressively unflappable people we have ever known. The fact that they have managed to stand by us over the years is a testament not only to their talent, but also to their resilience.

Will progressed in a school where there was an abundance of understanding, along with a safety net of respect and genuine concern, even in the most painful and scary moments.

2014: ˜˜˜˜˜ It’s a Process (or how I discovered the value of patience.)

Will suffered through his formative years in a public school system that tried but failed to understand him.

Dave went on to establish The Community School.

…Will suffered through a few more years of non-TCS schooling where he continued to be misunderstood. Eventually, he graduated, and didn’t know what to do next.

Dave went on to establish The Community School’s Young Adults in Transition Program.

Will has been participating in The Young Adults in Transition Program at TCS for three years. When he entered the program, I was cautiously optimistic. Everyone seemed comfortable, confident, and ready for Will.

Because of our history in other schools and programs, it was difficult for me to maintain an optimistic outlook. Every time my caller ID said TCS was calling, I braced for bad news. When the news wasn’t bad, the caller was quick to announce that everything was okay, and I could exhale. But more times than I care to remember, calls were made to let me know that things had gone awry. Again.

And yet, the call I dreaded most never came. No one ever said, “We’ve run out of ideas. We don’t think we can help anymore.”

And yet, the call I dreaded most never came. No one ever said, “We’ve run out of ideas. We don’t think we can help anymore.”

I wondered when or if we would see progress. I didn’t hide my despair from the TCS staff. Even though Will was in a place where he was more understood and accepted than he had ever been, I worried. Out loud. Often.

The TCS team continued to remind me that this was a process. The pace might be slow and uneven. The progress might be imperceptible to me, but I was assured that progress was happening. I was advised to be patient. I juggled patience with fear and doubt.

Enter Dave, with an invitation for our family to participate in weekly counseling sessions. What could it hurt?

Time passed.

Will progressed in a school where there was an abundance of understanding, along with a safety net of respect and genuine concern, even in the most painful and scary moments.

Dave survived our family counseling sessions.

A few weeks ago, The Community School Fall 2014 Newsletter arrived in the mail. While I was reading the second paragraph on the second page, I found progress. It was a Letter from the Executive Director. He wrote a heartfelt and encouraging story about a participant in the program. He didn’t name names, but I’m pretty sure it was Will, and here is what it said:

“A young man who is part of our Young Adult program struggled for years in every school setting he had ever been in. He was often isolated, and at times became so frustrated that he was placed in hospitals, experiences that increased his feelings of being misunderstood and mistreated. This same young man, after working with us for a couple of years, is now much more stable, happy, and productive. He has begun to attend college, and is participating in extracurricular activities on campus. He has developed a circle of friends in the TCS community, and these friends are getting together to talk and eat together, to play games, and to explore the city. He can envision a life of independence.”

– Melissa, a TCS Parent

One Comment on “It’s a Process

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