Five years ago, on Cassidy’s first day at Camphill, we never dreamt she would have accomplished as much as she has or thought that we would have such tenderness in our hearts and appreciation for this magical place!
We turned to Camphill at a time when we were feeling lost. Cassidy’s current school was no longer a good fit for her – too many students and activity escalated her anxiety and several new harmful behaviors surfaced and we watched her decline. It was heartbreaking and we felt overwhelmed and were losing hope. Change is not easy for Cassidy, but after visiting Camphill we decided to take a leap of faith.
Thanks to her teacher Nicky and coworkers, Cassidy began to find herself and place in the community. She learned to sit at a desk for longer periods of time, complete more and more tasks, use utensils, and walk greater distances up the hills. She was flourishing and thriving. It quickly became evident that Camphill was exactly what Cassidy needed all along. It was away from the hustle, bustle, and chaos of everyday life. Things moved slower and it was tranquil, serene and calm. All of this settled her and for the first time she enjoyed being “in the moment.”
Cassidy had jobs that she was so proud to complete. This was a new concept to her and quite frankly, to us. We tended to just do things for her, but that was about to change. After my first time visiting for lunch, we gathered the scraps in a bucket and carried them to the compost pile. While we were walking Cassidy kept saying “Mom, mom!” pointing to her bucket, grinning from ear to ear. This was her way of saying, “Look what I can do, aren’t you proud?” She stood there beaming as tears rolled down my face. It was then I realized we made the right decision and had given Cassidy the greatest gift. She was right where she needed to be. She is viewed and treated as a young woman, not a child. She is respected, valued, embraced, and most of all, loved.
All we have ever wanted for Cassidy is happiness, because in the end that is all that matters. Thanks to Camphill our dreams have been realized – our girl is happy and filled with joy. She has a place where she belongs: a community with her peers, her friends, where she makes meaningful contributions.
When we think about the future, it gives us peace. Our sleepless nights filled with worry don’t seem to happen quite so often. Camphill has become our partner and has a special place within our family. Because of the school, tomorrow is not filled with fear, but promise, hope, and lots of smiles. We can’t wait to see what our girl will do next!
With love and gratitude to Camphill Special School and
to all of YOU for your generous support that makes it all possible,
Keith and Melissa Epps
This piece was taken from the 2012-2013 Annual Report