“Education must conform to the deeper needs of children.”
Ilde Leoni, Ph.D.
Scottie, the homeless child who inspired the founding of this organization, was very bright and inquisitive yet he could neither read nor write and was failing in school. Within the public school system, eight year old Scottie had already become a statistic, yet when children like Scottie are taught in a nurturing and inspiring environment they prove their ability to grasp new concepts, think logically, solve problems and achieve academic success.
Since 1999, homeless and at-risk children from around the country have benefited from the Wilderness Adventure Programs at Scottie’s Place. Now, Scottie’s Place also offers year-round Leadership Programs emphasizing academics and experiential education for at-risk youth, providing the intervention necessary to prevent these children from dropping out of school. Programs address the intellectual, physical and moral development of the participants, teaching them to think complexly and creatively, to accept responsibility and challenge, to act compassionately and cooperatively. In a reduced stress environment without the painful distractions of bullying, insecurities and hunger, children receive the guidance they need to learn and grow.
Scottie’s Place employs multiple strategies to address the academic, social and emotional needs of at-risk children. The Scottie’s Place community is characterized by warm, caring adults who foster a supportive environment in which the children can thrive. Counselors, teachers and staff are trained to respond to the nature and needs of the children, to emphasize the development of sustaining relationships, and to concentrate on the children’s strengths and interests rather than their deficiencies. Through daily mentoring and tutoring, children at Scottie’s Place improve their academic and life skills: they learn to focus on the task at hand, communicate effectively, manage anger productively, and behave appropriately in unfamiliar or difficult situations.
High expectations for behavior, attitude and academic performance ensure that all children receive the greatest benefit from their efforts and experiences at Scottie’s Place. Children experience physical endeavors in a wilderness setting and intensive instruction in the classroom. Goals are set, challenges faced, success achieved. The children gain a greater awareness of their abilities, a healthier perspective of their individuality. They become role models and leaders. As their self-esteem rises, so do their chances of academic and personal success. Scottie’s Place empowers, educates and enlivens at-risk children. At Scottie’s Place, the promise of every child comes to life.