When our daughter, Elizabeth, was very young, we knew that she was bright, probably gifted. We did not, however, understand about different levels of giftedness. We managed to find mentors in her areas of interest and tried to challenge her at home. While she did not seem to have any close friendships, she was social and popular. Elizabeth also participated in a gifted enrichment program at the University of New Orleans. A professor at UNO suggested applying to the Davidson Young Scholars (YS) program, but we did not feel that we needed anything more – or that Elizabeth had that kind of intelligence.
In 2005, we lost our home in Hurricane Katrina and relocated to Texas. Elizabeth was suddenly alone and friendless. Unexpectedly, we found ourselves tracking down Elizabeth’s records to apply for the YS program. Thinking that when they turned her down, the Davidson Institute would be able to refer us to another organization that served less profoundly gifted children, we were pleasantly surprised when we heard that the Davidson Institute was “thrilled” to have Elizabeth in the Young Scholar program.
Through the YS program, we soon found the local support group for families with profoundly gifted children. Ultimately, through that group, we also found a homeschooling group with a large gifted population. Elizabeth soon had her first ever “best friend”, a similar-aged girl who is also in the YS program. The Davidson Institute has helped us make educational decisions and find new mentors. They have provided consultations with experts in the area of gifted education and, when necessary even given us financial assistance.
In 2007, Elizabeth applied to the YS Ambassador program and it is through this program that we have seen profound changes in our daughter. Hurricane Katrina had left Elizabeth feeling lost. She had given up on all of her ambitions and dreams. Yet, by designing and implementing her service project, and through the guidance of the YS Ambassador Team, we have seen Elizabeth grow in confidence. She has new goals and new ambitions, and is prepared to take the steps to achieve them. It was a strong and competent young woman who stood by her presentation board at the 2009 YS Summit, answering questions about her project. It is no exaggeration to say that the Davidson Institute literally saved our daughter. For this, we are truly grateful.
Elizabeth was featured in the "In the Spotlight" section of the June 2010 edition of the Davidson Institute's eNews-Update.
Programs mentioned in this story:Young ScholarsYoung Scholar Ambassadors Program
This article is provided as a service of the Davidson Institute for Talent Development, a 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to supporting profoundly gifted young people 18 and under. To learn more about the Davidson Institute’s programs, please visit www.DavidsonGifted.org.
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