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Letters
Speech for Parent’s Weekend at Glenholme, 2012

If someone were to ask me to describe our journey at Glenholme in one word, what comes to mind is “gift”.

Our son Ben is going to be graduating this June. He came to this school a wild stallion, kicking and screaming every step of the way. I asked his social worker, Mr. Timmel, if we were his most difficult clients because frankly, as hard as we worked, it felt as though getting through to our son was hopeless.

Then a small miracle happened. On the day of “Open House” Ben sat in front of a large group of parents, playing the guitar and singing, by himself. I was stunned. Yes, he had a nice voice and singing was something he had never done around us. Yet that wasn’t it. Something had changed. It was really only a ripple, not a huge wave. But it was an important ripple because I had never seen it before. A brief moment of a different kid. It was a huge breakthrough, then there were major catastrophes, and sometimes-just back to square one, but the “ripple” was still there.

Glenholme became our son’s community and while Ben has been here he has been doing the things he is supposed to do, playing sports, acting in a play, making friends, learning.

As unique as every child is at Glenholme, we as parents are all very much the same. There is no denying we have our work cut out for us. Glenholme has given us great tools. I will have to remind myself in the most trying of times to press my “Mom” button, which is to stop, breathe and always try to do better than the “last” time. Sometimes it will be OK, sometimes it won’t. Life with Ben is about not fighting with him, but always fighting for him.

We are terrified about the next step, after graduation. We won’t have the walls of Glenholme to keep Ben safe. He will have to reach deep inside and remember what he experienced here, and believe me, we will be there to remind him. Is he going to keep challenging us?  It would be unrealistic to believe otherwise.  

Our journey with our son will go on, yet we believe choices will be easier as time passes and Ben continues to grow into an honorable young man.   We believe, because Glenholme has taught us we can. You have guided us with your words of encouragement when we have felt incredibly discouraged, and hopeful words of praise when the world seems just as scary a place as it does to our son.  

And probably not right away, but years from now, Ben will feel the full impact of what he has acquired here. He will walk somewhere or be in the middle of stopping himself from doing the wrong thing, and then he will remember something Mr. Kepics had said to him, or Dr. Queenan, and he will just say “oh yeah” with that mischievous smile on his face.

So come June, whether he realizes it or not, a very different Ben is going to be walking up to get his Diploma.

Thank you for being there with our endless phone calls and your unending support. Thank you so very much. Thank you for being our son’s home and our extended family. And thank you for being the incredible gift that has touched our lives. We will miss you greatly. If Glenda the Good Witch were to comfort us today she would tell us to click our heels three times and say, “There’s no place like Glenholme, there’s no place like Glenholme, there’s no place like Glenholme.” And by the way, I will still be calling Mr. Timmel.

December 2011

In all honesty I really don't know how to express my appreciation for what you have done for my daughter Jessica.

I remember the first phone call home-I thought "oh my, what have I done?!" I thought I was going to have to jump on a plane and bring her home, I figured it was "too much"! But of course the next phone call was all about the wonderful things that can be seen and done-was a totally different conversation! (must admit, I felt like wringing her neck!) I came to enjoy the conversations with Jess, about all the friendships she was making, the teachers that she was truly connecting with and all the incredible things that were at her finger tips! There were the inevitable phone calls that Jess moaned and groaned about how awful things were for her! But the good always outnumbered the bad! I was thrilled when I was able to visit the school for the first time. When Jessica first came into view, I thought WOW, she seems to have matured already! I had a tour of the school, met most teachers, and thought what an incredible place!

Jessica would not have been able to graduate from High School here in Bermuda, not only have you made it possible for her to accomplish that-you have given Jessica a sense of who "she" is! I think she was in danger of losing herself in her battle through school and life in general! I've always known how generous, caring, beautiful and bright she is-SHE needs to know that too! Ms Campbell, thank you from the bottom of my heart for allowing Jessica to stay and finish! Please express my gratitude to everyone concerned. Ms. Murphy, Ms. Brownlee (please send her my love)Ms. Fitzherbert, Ms. Berry & Hubby (sorry if spelling is wrong) Jessica has come to love and adore you guys! Ms. Cronin- I know there are sooooo many other names to say-but through the tears....the typing is getting pretty difficult!(ALMOST as many tears as Graduation ceremony!!)

Once again PLEASE accept my heartfelt love and appreciation!
Hope you all have a wonderful Christmas & A Very Happy New Year!

Wendy
 
 
 
 
 
 
It was back in about December that my wife Barbara and I brought our son to you for treatment. Although Barbara and I are now divorced, I thank God every day for what she and you did for our son. "You" is not only you and your wife but the entire staff at Glenholme. Our son was assigned to a feisty little lady whose name I can't remember (might have been Debby). I cried the entire trip back to St. Louis, Mo.
Some highlights of our son's life since then:
1. Went back to public high school and graduated 5th out of 450 graduates
2. Attended Stanford University where, among other things, he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa his junior year and graduated with honors in.
3. Received his MD from UCLA School of Medicine; once again graduating with honors.
4. Served his Pediatric residency at Oakland (CA) Children's hospital.
5. Began serving his Neurology residency at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF)
I have suffered several financial setbacks in the past 10 years. However, on the rare occasion that I buy a lottery ticket, I make a commitment that should "my boat come in", Devereux and Glenholme will too benefit. Although I take nothing away from my son for this success, without your intervention, professionalism, and personal approach to our problem this story may not have continued as happily as it has. Thank you again.
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We are extremely grateful to The Glenholme School and its entire staff for giving us a program that made an incredible difference in our lives, as well as in the life of our son.
Our son was enrolled in March of 2002, having never slept away from home, being somewhat isolated and having difficulty dealing with social situations both at home and at school. While not a serious behavior problem, his lack of social skills resulted in inappropriate outburst and comments. In 1999, he had been diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, a neurological social learning disability at the high functioning end of the autistic spectrum.
Through the Token economy at Glenholme, our son learned how to "earn" tokens by behaving more socially appropriate, and was highly motivated, earning an average of 97% throughout his stay at Glenholme. While he was somewhat motivated by the rewards of later bedtime, special lunch privileges, etc, he was most driven by the "percentage" of tokens earned!
As he approaches his graduation, we see a more confident, more independent young man, who while still possessing an introverted personality, tries exceedingly hard every moment to interact socially on a more appropriate level.
We are proud and pleased that through the Glenholme program, and his wonderful "coaching" sessions with his social worker, he has learned about daily life skills by living and sharing chores in his cottage, learned about peer interactions through conversations with his roommates and classmates, and learned about how to better handle many social situations through interactions with peers, teachers, and staff.
Thank you, Glenholme, for giving us back a more confident and happy child!
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My son has been going to the Glenholme School for the past two years. He has just begun his third year, and will be leaving your school in June 2002. I can not express properly in words the relief and comfort we have felt knowing that our son has been guided by your incredible staff. They have all been "lifesavers", and are truly amazing people.
One teacher in particular has really helped our son. Ms. S has been an integral force in our son's growth and development. Through her life skills program, Ms. S has been able to help our son become more independent, as well as self-dependent. Her guidance has not only helped our son in his endeavors, but her quality advice has helped me deal with our son's problems in a focused and productive manner. I am riveted by Ms. S's dedication and commitment when it comes to helping the students at Glenholme.
Again, I am deeply grateful to all at the school who have been sensitive to our son's needs. From line-dancing to cooking to volunteer work….and the list goes on, our son has become a much happier, self-assured individual. My family and I will be forever grateful.
How do I properly thank all of the people who helped my son? I don't think that words can tell it all. As I tell people, you gave me my son back. But beyond that, you gave him a sense of self that he would never have had if not for your school. When he was interviewing at other schools he would tell them that he is doing better than if he had never gotten sick and had to go to your school.
That is true. As a child with ADHD and learning disabilities he would have done marginally. He would have been struggling all his life. You gave him the tools not just to get back to where he was before he got sick, but you gave him the tools to excel.
The donation I have enclosed is in honor of all of you. Although the amount of the donation is insignificant in relation to what you gave my son and me.
Thank you for everything.
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I would like to thank all of you for bringing my daughter to me. Although placing my daughter outside my home was hard for me to do it was at the same time the best thing for her. She is now the happy young lady I always wished she could be. I would like to thank all of you who were so pleasant to me when I met you whether by phone, e-mail or in person. My daughter had a very difficult time making friends in the past and now with your help the first day of school she already has many! Thank you for all of your hard work. I will remember you always.
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A Parent's View of Glenholme:

There's no place like Glenholme
A little gem of a school
With vision and with foresight
It will give us the tools

To move forward in life
In a positive way
It helps us react well
At home, work, or play

There's no place like Glenholme
With its beauty and tradition
It allows us to grow
Helps us make our own decisions

There's no place like Glenholme
And the folks there who'll guide us
They have the " know how"
They have a touch just like Midas

They give us the time to learn
How to cope
In a world filled with hurdles
They give us hope

There's no place like Glenholme
Just as Dorothy said
When leaving OZ, it was these words
That I read

"There's no place like home"
Which Glenholme can be for a while
It can comfort and guide
Each fragile child

There's no place like Glenholme
Where each parent can see
The young man or woman
This child is destined to be

There's no place like Glenholme
Where every boy and girl
Will mature into fine adults
Ready to enter the world

There's no place like Glenholme
They are second to none
This writer should know
They have guided my son

They have given him gifts
Which the eye can not see
They are returning my boy
Now a man, back to me

The greatest gift we will cherish
No matter where we will roam
Is the absolute certainty
There's just no place like Glenholme!
A Child Came to Glenholme

A Child Came to Glenholme
Frightened, Diffident, Angry and Sad
A Challenge to Herself
And To Her Mom And Dad

Learning Was So Hard
She Found It Useless To Try
Friends Were So Scarce
That It Made Her Cry

She Had Never Known Success
So She Expected To Fail
When Its Seemed She Was On Track
Things Would Start To De-rail

A Child Is Leaving Glenholme
Confident, Happy, And Strong
Knowing She Can Succeed
Knowing She Can Belong

Knowing She Has Weaknesses To Work On
But Also Skills That She Has Mastered
Bolstered By Her Own Achievements
Which Have Us All Flabbergasted!

She Found Teachers Who Brought Out Her Best
Who Knew How To Nurture What Was Inside
Now She Could Be Herself
She Didn’t Have To Hide

She Learned To Be A Leader
She Learned How To Cope
She Learned About Control
And Not To Give Up Hope

Understanding Limits
How To Get On With Peers
Winning Over Mentors And Friends
At Last, Overcoming Fears

A Child Is Leaving Glenholme
Not Perfect, But Really Fine
She Seems Familiar – But Oh, So Different
My God, That Child Is Mine!
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81 Sabbaday Lane . . . * . . . Washington, Connecticut 06793 . . .* . . . Phone 860-868-7377 . . .* . . . Fax 860-868-7894
The Devereux Glenholme School is a therapeutic boarding school located in Washington, CT, that provides a therapeutic program and exceptional learning environment to address varying levels of academic, social and emotional development in boys and girls ages 10-21. The goal of our school is to prepare our graduates for post-secondary college and career opportunities.