By Angie Kleven
Las Vegas is an amazing place to homeschool. Those who want social interaction, parent mentoring and support, as well as clubs and classes for their children will find plenty to choose from. Because of the poor public education record in Nevada and the ever-increasing budget cuts, parents are turning to alternative forms of education in record numbers every year.
While such rapid growth has created many opportunities and strengthened many groups, it has also created a large problem. Most of the homeschooling group activities, clubs, classes, and social events are held out of doors in parks when the weather is cool enough, and/or in private homes. A handful of groups meet in local church buildings, but for the rest of us, there just is not enough room to accommodate the numbers of people and their needs.
Over three years ago a friend and I created a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization called Home Education and Leadership Programs of Southern Nevada. We worked on this for well over a year and could not get it off the ground. There was some support for it, but not nearly enough, and HELP was barely organized when it had to be dissolved. Throughout the following year, I continued to feel the call to provide a facility for local homeschooling families, but I did not know how to make it happen.
Mentally I worked through all of my options, and decided to return to school and take online courses that focused on nonprofit management. Several months later as I was initiating my education, I received an email from three homeschooling mothers who lived in Las Vegas and felt the need to establish a similar facility. In August 2009, RISE Resource Center was born. RISE came together much more quickly than HELP did, and before long, we had received our non-profit and tax-exempt status.
Everything looked promising and we continued connecting with the homeschooling community at large, confident that we were doing what was desperately needed. With our business plan in place, we proceeded to contact property managers and other possible donors. All we needed was 1.5 million dollars, and we could open our doors and sustain ourselves for three years. In our minds, this was a reasonable request, and we expected people with resources to line up to help us. After a period of time, it became evident that this was not going to happen anytime soon, and we revised our plan and approach again and again.
Through these experiences, I have had the opportunity to learn about the Law of Gestation. This law states that there is a finite period of development for each and every idea. Once an idea is planted, it does not always bloom when we want it to, but the delay does not mean that the seed is not good. We know that, once planted, a quaking aspen tree will grow at a rate of five feet per year, but an oak tree will grow at a much slower rate of one foot per year. While the quaking aspen is a beautiful tree, the oak is far sturdier, more reliable, provides greater shade, and its life span is much longer.
Perhaps my nonprofit homeschool organization is like an oak tree, and, after being planted and nurtured, is putting down roots far into the ground that I cannot see. Perhaps it will grow slowly, more slowly than I would like, but the slow growth will result in a strong and sturdy organization that will serve many more people in a better way over a longer period of time.
I know that the idea is good, and that the time for planting was right. I have done all that I can up to this point, and now must wait and watch. It may be that the people we want to serve are not quite ready for what we will offer. It may be that someone else needs to join our organization for it to be complete. It may be that as the directors, we have more to learn and do before we are fully prepared to lead where it will inevitably go.
Whatever the reason, the Law of Gestation reassures me that because I have planted it well, nourished it as best I can, and continue to act when something needs to be done, when the time is right, RISE Resource Center will rise up and take its place in the world.
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