At the conclusion of our semi-annual Parent Seminar last month, we received this letter from one of our families. We’re omitting their names to protect their privacy:
To the Directors, Therapists, Managers, Residential Mentors & many more staff we may have forgotten, with a special appreciation going to Keith, Nate & Janeen:
Now that parent’s weekend is over & we have had time to reflect on what we saw, we would like to share our thoughts from a parent’s perception of Discovery Academy. As parents, our biggest fears start from the time our children our small. We fear for their safety & how we can assure that in the future. We search out daycares when they are infants. We pace the floor when they are ill. We worry when they venture out to drive a car. So dropping our son ___, off at DA was no small feat. Actually, our son was all set to arrive at another Utah facility. For some reason, I would like to think of as divine intervention, we were led to reconsider our decision. (1st small miracle) I am not saying the other facility was not reputable, but I felt this strong feeling that ___ needed something different. Within 24 hours of ____’s expected arrival, we changed our minds & placed him at DA. For the next few months, we had conflicting thoughts concerning our decision & if indeed we made the right one.
As my career involves managing associates, I coach on making adjustments in behaviors to increase a person’s professional ability in the workplace. Some comply rather robotically & others fly with it. Why? Because they love what they do & it shows from the inside out. This behavior is what we saw at DA. The love was overflowing to the children who in recent times past have displayed behavior that was unlovable even for a parent.
When we arrived at DA, we saw many confused, hurting & suffering parents. However, to our amazement we saw young people on their way to being happy, well adjusted & healthy. (2nd small miracle).These young people shook your hand & looked you in the eye as they spoke with you. These young people were excited to see you, glad to introduce you to new friends & welcomed you to their temporary new home.
Mine & my husband’s fears were put to rest when we arrived at DA for parent’s weekend. It was not due to the seminar (although informative). It was not due to the extensive college degrees & wealth of experience of the DA staff. Nor was it due to the cleanliness of the building or its sheer beauty. What put our fears as parents to rest was a simple action of affection. Sounds crazy, I agree. This is what actually happened. The play was over & the parents entered the cafeteria waiting to be reunited with their children. Our son was excited to introduce us to the Residential Mentors, Therapists & Directors. When I asked to take a picture, this next action followed & not with just one staff member but as I looked about the room it was happening with every single one of them towards the DA students. The staff smiled, put their arm around our son & leaned their head in for the photo. This action was done as simply as if they were taking their next breath. It was not forced or taught. That in simple words is “The Good Stuff”. You can’t teach it. You can’t learn it. I believe the word I am looking for here is compassion along with a true love for what they do & the lives they change. (3rd small miracle)
We no longer wonder about our son’s well being & agree that the decision to place our son at DA was absolute. We speak only with the highest regard to our family & friends concerning all of the DA staff. May the many miracles you all work daily come back to each & every one of you tenfold. Saying the words “Thank You” doesn’t seem to convey the actual meaning, but it is stated with much admiration.
With deep regard,