Notes from January Breakfast

At the Saturday January 8th OCDP monthly breakfast, attendees were delighted to hear Jon Holland, CEO of Tamassee DAR School, explain the expansive new role that the school is playing in Oconee County to continue their mission of educating and loving children. With the state of SC ending children’s group residential fostering programs, the DAR School accepted and answered that challenge by creating four new programs to answer the needs of underserved children in our communities. The After School Program launched the first day of the 2020 school year. The program has produced amazing results. Of the 32 students served, 100% improved in math scores and 89% improved in reading scores. For the vast majority of students, their improvement was over a full grade level. This is just one of the many benefits of this program. The Pennsylvania Early Childhood Learning Center served 45 children this same year. The creative curriculum helps children reach developmental milestones and be prepared for kindergarten. Children also learn how to manage their emotions through a classroom management program called Conscious Discipline. Summer Day Camp is for fun and enrichment including lots of outdoor games in the cool of the morning and moving indoors later in the day with indoor activities. Included were board games, STEM activities, drama, arts and crafts enhanced by a professional artist sharing her talent, and ending in an art show of students’ work. Summer of 2021, day camp served 43 children. And finally, the extraordinary and innovative program set to launch in March 2022 is the most far-reaching into the needs of our communities. It is the new residential program: “A Life Recovery Program for Mothers and Children.” The goals of this program are to help children and mothers heal from the impact of traumatic experiences of substance abuse, domestic violence, and/or homelessness. Mothers will live in the on-campus cottages with their children while receiving therapeutic services. The program is especially designed to help children heal from their adverse experiences and excel academically. The program lasts 18-24 months with attendees receiving services from trained professionals, including counseling, recovery groups, parenting coaching, education for moms and children, job skills training, and life skills training. Volunteers and donors of all levels are needed at the DAR School. The school is receiving no government funding, and with expenses nearly $3 million for current programs the need is great. Please contact www.tdarschool.org to see the many opportunities you have to impact the children of your own community

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