A Place to Belong
Dear Fellow Parents of Gifted Children,
Like you, I have been blessed with bright and talented children. As parents and guardians of such children, we realize that “gifted” does not necessarily mean either happy or fulfilled. The very talents and sensitivities which set our children above the norm also set them apart. Many suffer acutely from the ridicule or misunderstanding of their peers and consciously or unconsciously stifle their gifts in order to “belong.” Several years ago through the recommendation of a fellow parent and good friend, my children and I discovered the Governor’s Program for Gifted Children (GPGC). This seven-week Summer Enrichment Program, housed on the campus of McNeese State University in quiet, suburban Lake Charles, Louisiana, gives these unique and wonderful children an opportunity to explore their gifts without censure, among peers who share their sensitivities and abilities.
Many of you reading this website were, yourselves, gifted children and recognize some of your children’s difficulties from personal experience. I know I did. Knowing how painful those trials can be, imagine my delight to read my own daughter’s words after her first summer with GPGC (see poem at right):
It takes a large, talented, and extremely dedicated group of people to supervise, stimulate, and safeguard our children. GPGC administration and faculty (all extremely qualified and highly recommended) and counselors (most of whom are themselves GPGC alumni) handle these daunting challenges with ease and confidence. They quickly allay the fears of even the most protective parents and of the youngest and most timid, or most skeptical, students.
The GPGC has made an enormous difference to my son and daughter. While still in middle school, they have experienced a sense of belonging and appreciation that I did not realize until I went away to college. For them, and for me, GPGC has proven a remarkable and soul-satisfying gift—one it gives me enormous pleasure to share with you.
(GPGC Parent 1998-2004)
||The Place of Dreams
I love the place more than any,
After all, I'm here with my kind.
But I can't stop thinking of things that I'll miss,
The friends I'll be leaving behind.
I feel like a person now, more than ever,
I don't feel alone or afraid.
I loved everyone, though they may not believe it,
I never feel stupid or shamed.
Even if just for a moment, even if all ends in tears,
Coming here made me whole again,
I'll remember for all my years.
GPGC student, 1998