Why This Matters
by Emily Grose, Co-Founder
I was asked to write a little bit about why the work we do matters. I immediately thought, “oh, that’s easy, I preach that everyday!” But I have to tell you, I started this post at least five different times and I just couldn’t seem to get the right words out.
And this work does matter. What The Silver Orange stands for matters. Growth matters. Our teens matter.
Way back when The Silver Orange was a twinkle in my eye, I imagined a place for teens of all skills and abilities to have a place to practice their social skills. I imagined that we would work with some teens who had social delays, some with communication delays, some with funny quirks, some with unique interests, some with great talents, and some with perfectly well-rounded personalities. I wanted us to serve teens who strolled down “a typical” path and teens who walked to the beat of their own drum. I wanted to give our teens what they needed in that moment in time – from playing a team game to a job internship. I wanted there to be a place and a staff that could meet them where they are in their skills, interests and abilities. I wanted it to be a place where people could learn understanding and patience for those who are different from them. I wanted our teens to lead others and to be a part of something bigger than themselves. In my mind it was a place for teens who found it hard to make friends and keep friends to practice those skills in a safe space- to have a place where they could take social risks and come in contact with real, natural consequences for their actions. A space where they would be held accountable for their actions and learn to take personal responsibility. And then have the support to try again – to have second chances to do better and to be better. I imagined a place where the kids could see themselves reflected back in their space.
And you know what? We did that.
Over the last two and a half years, I have witnessed countless teen grow into themselves. From kids who weren’t sure they wanted to engage to being the leader of their Dungeon and Dragon group. From teens who were given rule reminders and consequences to being a role model for younger participants. From being technology attached to a reliable urban garden participant. From kid to young adult.
We help grow individuals into social, self-responsible, and confident people. We help to shape the individuals we would like to have as friends, co-workers, and neighbors in this world.
That matters. The Silver Orange matters.