Being the parent of a child with special needs, life can be quite sad and full of challenges. It can also be funny, because for so many years I spent so much time and money in search of help. Little did I know, in my own backyard nestled in North Bellmore, I was lucky to happen upon the help we needed through Project Stewardship along with the marvelous Community Support Group. The Children Sangha’s Project Stewardship program was probably the most beneficial socialization experience for my son that I could ever hope for. He had fun, he gained knowledge, he gained independence, and self-esteem. As for myself, the Community Support Group for the parents became invaluable. Unlike some support groups that are gripe sessions, this support group, facilitated by professionals, gives you the toolset to fix your problem not just talk about them. Anyone seeking support and a wholesome environment in which your child could feel valued and give back to the community must check out these programs.
My introduction to Christine Keller and The Children’s Sangha was in 2006. My 7 & 9 year old children attended a very interesting program. It was a multi-sensory, character education and skills development program. They learned through stories, discussion and activities. One of the memorable things they learned about was dreaming and how to actively, consciously participate in their dreams.
In 2012, my son was a sophomore in high school. He is Twice Exceptional: Gifted with ADHD. Though he never struggled with learning, he did struggle with executive function skills. Christine Keller connected us with a mentor who was a college student aspiring to be a school principal. The mentor and my son developed a mutually beneficial relationship. The two spent many hours discussing and implementing organizational and study strategies. Through trial and error they found better ways for my son to keep things in order. They went to Staples together and thoughtfully selected supplies that my son used from that day forward. It was a very positive and fruitful experience for both mentee and mentor. My son is very happy and doing exceptionally well academically in his second semester at UMass Amherst.
In 2014, my 15 year old daughter attended a Project Stewardship Outing at SUNY Old Westbury. It was a telethon being broadcast live in front of a studio audience, which we were part of. The broadcast was done in the studio on campus where the monitors, cameras, equipment and technicians were impressive. This was a wonderful opportunity for my daughter to be exposed to what is actually behind the scenes, as well as a college campus. My daughter is now enrolled in the Video and Film Production course at Wilson Tech in Dix Hills. She spends the morning learning about video and film production and the afternoon at her high school. She is hoping to have the opportunity to go back to SUNY Old Westbury this summer to learn even more about video and film production.
The Children’s Sangha has been an invaluable resource to our family, helping us navigate through a school system that was new to us. They worked with us to identify services that would benefit our child and stood beside us as we went through the process of having these services implemented. Their positive and upbeat attitude was so appreciated in dealing with, what could have been a very frustrating experience. I would highly recommend using The Children’s Sangha’s services, to facilitate bringing out the best in your child.
The Community Support Group has been a gift to my family. Led by Christine Keller, it is a remarkable positive resource that enables parents and children to share, learn and grow effectively. I attend regular meetings where parents discuss topics relating to behavioral, educational, and other concerns. Having a child who has emotional difficulties can make a family feel alone, isolated and ashamed. The Community Support Group offers access to trained professionals and to enlightened peers who share hardships and more importantly, the joy of successes. Hearing each family’s story helps me to develop skills and attitudes to nurture my child more positively and effectively. The Community Support Group has enabled me to leverage resources, including learning how to be an advocate for my child with our school district. The group empowers and motivates me and assures me that I am not alone. Our family is fortunate for Christine and the Community Support Group, whose warmth and concern reinforces our steadfast resolve to envision and create a more positive future.
[Art courtesy of Glen Rabena]