Amy Brenneman has always been a champion of great causes and CHIMEapalooza is very near and dear to her heart!
On March 9, I will be producing and hosting CHIMEapalooza 2013: A Multi-media Celebration of the CHIME Mission. It is the second time I’ve put together this event, and if last year is any indication, it will be an inspiring, raucous, and illuminating night indeed.
The CHIME Institute is the nonprofit organization that operates four programs: Infant-Toddler, Preschool, Teacher Training, and the K-8 charter school where my children Charlotte (fifth grade) and Bodhi (second) attend. CHIME is the national leader in creating fully-inclusive educational models. But that only begins to tell the story.
My daughter has special needs. When she was 2 years old, she was not speaking and when she was 5 she barely knew her letters. It was a bewildering and anguished time. I watched other friends’ kids learn with ease while my dear girl seemed to have trouble with everything. We did all the right things — speech therapy, occupational therapy, play therapy — and some of it helped. But all along there was a sense of isolation and genuine fear. I felt judgmental of my daughter for not being able to keep up with her peers — and then hated myself for it. My husband and I felt worn out from her tantrums — then pulled from deeper internal resources for patience and guidance from wherever we could find.
Charlotte could tolerate a typical classroom — she did not have huge behavioral issues — but I knew that when it came time to dive into real academics we’d need support. And we did. The school where she began first grade made it clear they couldn’t support her, dismissing her humanity in a way that still makes my mother’s heart boil with rage. But when I began looking for a school, I found out what many before me already knew: the options are woefully limited. The true special needs schools — although their intention were often good — felt like segregated ghettos, where there was no peer modeling for someone like Charlotte to emulate. But in a typical school, she’d be singled out for being “different,” and that label would brand her permanently.
Then we found CHIME.
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xoxo !Rolling On! xoxo GreysRcksMyWorld