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You Get What You Give… and Sometimes Even More

6 Feb

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Let’s be honest. There are some days when we wake up feeling drained, tired on every level, and wondering what we’re doing with our lives.

I had a few of those days as I re-transitioned into my placement location after being on break for 3 weeks over the holidays. My position as the Health and Wellness Fellow at Eagle Rock School is a bit of a black sheep in relation to the rest of the fellows who are mostly teachers. Sometimes it’s difficult to communicate what I do with my time as my schedule is inverse of most of the staff. While they’re teaching, I’m making phone calls to parents, making appointments with therapists and learning centers, and checking in with my supervisor to ensure all bases are covered. While they’re making lessons plans, I’m with my students in one on one and small group conversations finding ways to help them cope with their emotions and whatever issues arose through the course of the day.

Sometimes it becomes frustrating when the majority of evidence of success is intangible, physically immeasurable, and frequently confidential because of the nature of the position.

That all said, without fail, my students show me every day why I accepted this position. They are love embodied. Unexpectedly, I find notes in my mailbox, messages on facebook, random texts, and emails telling me how much they appreciate what I do and they know that so often no one else sees what’s happening behind the scenes.

Before coming to Eagle Rock, I wondered how I would maintain my own grounding with no close friends nearby as I poured out every bit I could of myself to and for the students. Now that I’m here, there is no question that the love I give is the love I receive and more. They add incredible depth and meaning to my life, and any moments of frustration are rapidly dissolved by their transparent affections.

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Opportunity’s Many Faces

21 Dec

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Opportunity means giving students different ways of managing not only their bodies, but their thoughts and emotions at Eagle Rock School. 

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Opportunity means building meaningful connections with students.

Fleeing the Cube

30 Nov

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(The Fellows)

It’s been almost exactly one year since I decided to change my life. I would have never imagined that I’d escape my miserable windowless cube in a box and find myself living in the mountains working with at-risk youth at Eagle Rock School in Estes Park, CO.

But life rarely follows any predetermined plan, and through a series of fortunate events and intentional conversations, a friend led me to a contact who suggested that I apply to Eagle Rock. I never thought I would be accepted amongst the hundreds of incredibly qualified applicants they receive every year, but again, life is full of surprises. Within a few months, I transitioned from my position as a Logistics Management Specialist working for the Navy base to working as the Health and Wellness Fellow at Eagle Rock.

I had no idea of what to expect when I came here. Honestly, I wasn’t even completely clear on what would be expected of  the Health and Wellness Fellow, but just over 2 months in, I’ve fallen completely in love with the students. This is the first time in my life I’ve ever felt that my own past is an asset and not a liability. Because of all that seemed to be broken, I’m in a position where I am better able to understand where my students are coming from. I can relate to them in ways I would never have been able to without having to work through the heartache.

Additionally, I live with 11 other amazing humans who, in spite of our incredibly different backgrounds, have all come to this one place to carry out the work of building an intentional community of open compassionate support while working to “engage the disengaged” students who fell through the cracks in conventional school systems.

I left behind my life of miserable comfort and stability in order to be able to dive into a life of which I can be proud. At this point, I can honestly say that I’m excited about life and all of the possible opportunities that have become accessible simply because I let go of my fear of the unknown. The students here show me every day why I made the decision to come to Eagle Rock. As the year progresses, I hope to be a positive influence and a stable support for them. Undoubtedly, my life will be forever changed by the experiences I have here.