“He was like a bomb.”
That is how Elizabeth described her eldest son, Joseph who, at 4 years old, was a highly energetic child with an urgent fascination for numbers. His attraction was so advanced, Elizabeth had to relearn middle school math concepts just to satisfy his curiosity. As Joseph progressed through school, not only did his love for numbers grow, it became apparent that Joseph needed more than what Elizabeth or his teachers could offer.
“He was rejected in school and really struggled. He had so much difficulty,” Elizabeth recounted. She could see the light in Joseph dimming as he struggled to make friends and perform well in elementary and middle school. At the urging of her friends, she got Joseph tested at the district level. The results confirmed that Joseph was 129% more advanced than his peers. Though she was affirmed by these results, receiving them did little to provide Elizabeth relief. “All [his teachers] would say is ‘he’s smart, he’s smart;’ that’s it!” While they acknowledged his gifts, Joseph’s school did not provide him with the support he needed to tap into his potential.
Elizabeth noticed similarities in her younger son, Jacob, her niece, Lucy, and her nephew, Randy. Afraid that, like Joseph, their needs would be ignored, Elizabeth began to spend her free time looking for help. She struggled to find a place that could address the academic and emotional needs of the children. Moreover, the programs she found cost more than her family could afford. “I feel bad because if I had the money, I would do more right away,” Elizabeth insisted. “No matter what, you have an obligation to nourish that hunger of knowledge.”
Luckily, Elizabeth stumbled upon the phone number of Ann Smith, Executive Director of the Gifted Support Center in northern California and longtime supporter of IEA. “I left a long voicemail, crying. I was so desperate! I tired of fighting.” Ann called Elizabeth back the next day and directed her to IEA, assuring the mother that, at IEA, she would find the help and guidance her family needed all along.
For Elizabeth and her family, finding IEA was a life changer. Elizabeth’s family could receive the help they needed without financial burden, as, to date, no qualified child has been turned away from IEA due to lack of funds. Though they travel over a 4-hour round trip to attend programming, for Elizabeth, it is well worth it. “They are all so interested in all the programs,” Elizabeth tearfully shared. “They smile now, and they share everything they learn with me. They never wanted to talk before!” Joseph and his cousin, Lucille, both attend the LABS program while Joseph’s younger brother, Jacob, and his cousin, Randy, attend the Academy program. Elizabeth also receives consulting from Betsy Jones, President and Executive Director of IEA. Though the needs of the children are still overwhelming, she no longer feels alone. For Elizabeth, IEA has made all the difference. “It has changed my life and their lives. It’s something beautiful.”
Our goal is to never turn children away due to a lack of resources. Your support helps IEA serve highly able and creative youth of all backgrounds so no matter where they’ve been, they will have the tools to travel anywhere they want to go. To contribute to IEA please click here. We appreciate your support.
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