The Davidson Young Scholars (YS) program has been an absolute blessing for Omar and myself. There is nothing like it, a free program created to help these special kids. The YS program really acknowledges that these children are hugely underserved and they need services, just like children with special needs. We cannot thank Bob and Jan Davidson enough for starting this program!
Before YS, Omar was starting to question himself and where he fit in. He had always been an outgoing, social child, but was beginning to feel very alone inside, like there must not be anyone in the world who thinks the way he does. I was starting to worry about his future emotional state, concerned his self-esteem would drop. It was such a critical time, and then we got the YS acceptance letter! It was a real turning point from then on, Omar simply being able to see profiles of other YS, just like himself and beyond. This gave him a major confidence boost! He became happy to be “different” and “brainy”. He started to connect with previous friends on a deeper level, realizing that just because they were different, didn’t mean he couldn’t have them as close friends in other ways. It sounds ironic that Omar needed to know he wasn’t alone in this world, in order to connect with old friends!
As a parent, YS has been such a support. To hear stories and get advice from other parents going through the same trials and tribulations is very helpful emotionally. The best thing though, is my Family Consultant! She has been tremendously helpful with advice. It is so wonderful to know someone is there to advocate and help my son when needed. Whenever an issue arises, I have no problem getting in touch with her. To think we have the service at no cost, is again, truly amazing!
Omar entered college early as many YS do; I know the Davidson letter advocating on his behalf was paramount in the college’s decision to accept Omar as both a part-time student and again into a scholarship program as a full-time student.
The YS program also helped us financially when we could not afford the college genetics class my son wanted to take. Just knowing YS is there in case an issue should arise in regards to early college is a weight off our shoulders. We know we are not alone in this endeavor.
Omar had the opportunity to attended one Summit and this was yet another turning point. He told me that for the first time ever in his life (he was 12 years old at the time), he felt normal. He will always keep those precious moments in his memory, where he felt “ordinary and normal” during those few days.
Omar needed to feel a sense of belonging; this was the piece of the puzzle that Omar was missing until he joined the YS community. The advice, guidance, stories and profiles of other YS have helped immensely. Omar is currently at a great place emotionally and socially with a lot of friends, outside activities and numerous hobbies. He is also happy and challenged academically! I really do not know if Omar would be at this good place right now if we had not joined the YS community. Again we want to thank Bob and Jan Davidson for their amazing support!