From the Board: Ten Years Ago!

Anniversary Logo FinalTen years ago, a group of parents felt frustrated at the lack of understanding and resources available for kids like theirs. Though they didn’t actually know what “kids like theirs” meant at that time, although clearly something different was happening. The needs of their children were difficult or impossible to meet in schools, yet the homeschool community at that time didn’t have a place for them either. This group of parents banded around a kitchen table and formed a nonprofit, and here we are today: GHF.

Looking at what GHF has become is pretty mind-blowing. We continue to help parents find options for educating their children, but we do so much more. We collaborate with others whose mission overlaps with our own. We believe that a gifted child is more than an education, and the family of a gifted child encompasses a boatload of complicated relationship dynamics. You simply cannot raise or educate a gifted child without taking this into account. Going further, none of us live in a bubble and it benefits everyone to build bridges and encourage an array of options for all. Among our numbers include child-free professionals, public school teachers, and parents who aren’t sure their child is gifted but find our information useful. They are all welcome in our community. Our children may be at home with us now, but they will eventually go out into a world that we hope will be a more welcoming place for them than it was for previous generations of the gifted and twice exceptional.

On a more personal note, for all that I have given to the GHF community over the past ten years, I have gotten back so much more! When GHF was started, I was a married homeschool mom of two highly gifted, twice exceptional kids with an endless number of diagnoses to kidsandmomcroppedmuddle through. There were no instruction manuals, and it was a major challenge to get anyone to understand what I was dealing with and what my kids needed. I can’t tell you how many times I was told that my kids were fine and that I was the one who had the problem! Our society spends a lot of time blaming parents because it’s easier than sorting through the many layers of diagnoses and trying to meet the real needs of these complicated kids. Through GHF, I have worked hard to broaden understanding and expand the options in the toolbox so that kids and their families get the support they need.

Over these ten years, my own kids have been homeschooled using a variety of methods. We tried workbooks (an unmitigated disaster). We took classes with other homeschoolers. We traveled (57 U.S. national parks and monuments!). We tried online courses, which didn’t work for us until GHF Online was developed. We did early college. We moved from urban to rural and became a single-parent household, and have since moved back to urban/suburban and added another parent (and some cats and a suit of armor—don’t ask!). All the way through, my family has benefitted from the friends and colleagues we have made on our GHF journey. I often receive emails and messages from you thanking me for starting GHF and expressing gratitude for the simple knowledge that you aren’t alone out there. I wonder if you all ever consider that your messages remind me that I’m not alone out here either. After an extremely rough decade personally, I look back at my 18-year-old graduate student/environmental activist and my incredibly creative, (dragon- and) human- rights-obsessed 15-year-old and I know without a shadow of a doubt that I’m their mom but GHF has been their family.

Ten years ago, social media barely existed. All GHF had to work with was a Yahoo Group for SF Bay Area people, word of mouth, and a nascent website. We formed the group but didn’t think seriously about the trajectory it might follow. We essentially drew straws to see who would be in charge. Heck, I joked about being anointed Queen and the rest of the gang joined in by providing me with appropriate trappings. QCcropped

Today we reach up to 300,000 people per week on six continents via a variety of platforms, and the diversity of our community is astounding. Everyone is welcome. We support families whose children are currently in a traditional school setting, and we support adults who are just discovering their own giftedness. My son has friends in distant countries whom he met through his GHF Online classes, and my daughter used her GHF network to research her undergraduate senior project. I sit at the keyboard and there is no one in the room with me, yet I feel like I am surrounded by people who get my family and me. I know most of you will understand the things that have always been frustrating for me to try to explain to others. I value your insights into my dilemmas just as I do what I can to provide our help with yours. GHF has been my baby, but it has been our community. We will always do what we can to keep reaching out and keep welcoming others.

Going forward, I hope to see GHF continue to grow and continue to build bridges. We hope to extend our influence in directions that will help you parent your gifted child and impact education generally. We want to offer more free brochures, publish more low-cost books, offer more classes and webinars, and hold more events like our amazing Meet & Greet this past summer in San Jose, CA (see pics!). We hope you will help us continue our work, and of course we thank you for your support over the years. I, too, thank you for being part of our community. I cannot imagine what my life would be like without you.

Now, we’re asking for your support. Though we manage to do all of this on a small budget with incredibly low overhead, we need your support to maintain our services and continue to reach the families and professionals who can benefit from all the GHFmng offers. In the early days, our volunteers subsidized GHF out of our own pockets, and more recently we have been blessed with generous members and sponsors. Moving ahead, we need to become a self-sustaining community. I hope you’ll contribute, even if it’s just a few dollars per month.

If you’re not already a supporting member, please join. For as little as $24 per year, you would help families like yours navigate the tricky terrain of gifted and twice-exceptional (2e) life. We provide some pretty cool benefits, too!

If you own a business, consider becoming an institutional member. We offer different levels of membership to fit your budget. At GHF, we want to help connect your company with the families in our community who can benefit from your services and products.

If you are already a supporting member, thank you. Now, won’t you please consider sending in an additional tax-deductible donation? Your financial gift will support GHF’s worldwide outreach and advocacy on behalf of the gifted and 2e community.

And don’t forget to check with your or your partner’s employer. Many companies offer matching funds for donations to non-profit organizations, like GHF.

GHF: Serving the needs of the gifted and 2e community since 2004 and beyond, with help from people like you.

Thank you for your contribution and for supporting your community.

GHF is a 501(c)3 organization.

[This was originally posted in Nov 2013.]
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