As Thanksgiving approaches family and friends are brought together for sometimes much too long awaited reunions to sit down, put work aside, and reminisce fond memories. Our families are communities that we are born into—and pretty hard to get rid of (even when we try haha). However, our friends and many other communities we subscribe to are carefully handpicked according to our interests, values and views on different profound (or not so profound subjects). A community is a group of people that we have some range of commonalities, be it geographical or habitual characteristics. According to Webster’s dictionary, a community is “a group of people with common characteristics or interests” (Webster’s Dictionary). One of the many communities I have been included in for the majority of my life has been the Gifted Community. It is one that I am sure you, my readers, may also adhere to. It’s one that I feel is very tight knit, one that word travels fast in, and yet seems to be disorganized and lacking in unity.
So, why am I talking about what a community is? This has been on my mind for quite some time now, in fact I think that the Gifted Community is a topic that will continue to be on my mind for the foreseeable future. HEROES started as a community of mostly CTY and Davidsons’ members, as a group that would get together maybe once or twice a year. Even at that point I realized that the Gifted Community had some sort of a disconnect—a select few parents advocating for the Gifted and Talented within their school district or region of CTY or Davidsons. In the last few weeks we’ve started to have a sort of “coffee hour” with many of our HEROES parents and volunteers. One parent has aided in developing a Gifted and Talented Parent Association in her town, another is trying to work with CTY to provide more programs in the local area, another is advocating within the school district, and many just do not know where to begin. This is where the disconnect begins, and hopefully where it begins to end. While some of these parents have met, posted on discussion boards, held meetings with other parents, educators and maybe even a few administrators the Gifted Community has yet to figure out how to work together on this project. New Jersey falls at a shockingly [or not so shockingly for those of you who keep tabs on NJ’s Gifted and Talented Legislation (or lack thereof)] low percentile for Gifted and Talented programming across the nation. So, it has fallen to the parents, students and devoted educators to resolve this crisis.
So, here I sit, at my computer once again wondering how I can help unite the Gifted Community, a group with similar interests but a sad following. If instead of each parent with a Gifted Child advocating for their own child’s education we all worked together to make a permanent change within a larger community, New Jersey, then maybe our children won’t have to make the same fight for their children. Unions grow to have power because they have numbers. This community has the numbers but now we must find a way to bring everyone together. So, I guess the point of this whole posting is to ask you, the reader, the devoted parents, educators, students, or miscellaneous interested persons, how can I help bring this community together? What would we like to see for not only our children, but our grandchildren and every generation hereafter?