In just a few short years, Tamassee DAR School will celebrate 100 years of providing care for children of Appalachia. Began in 1919, with the objective of educating the children of the rural Appalachian Mountains, Tamassee DAR School has seen considerable transition in the past 100 years. For a bit of perspective, let me offer a few facts about 1919: Soldiers were returning from World War I, the average income that year in the United States was $1,332, the cost of a new car was $265, and a new house was $7,720.
Just as our financial realities have changed in the past 100 years, so has some of the challenges faced by our country. Our Public Education System has evolved to address the concerns of providing for the basic educational needs of our children of Appalachia. Through the years, Tamassee DAR School has also evolved to address the most prominent needs of children of our area. Today we support children and families in crisis through residential, educational, and outreach services. We believe that by providing the highest quality of care and support to children and families experiencing crisis, we offer the opportunity for them to move toward health and stability.
Many people have asked me what will change at Tamassee DAR School in the next few weeks, months, years. In many ways, things will stay very much the same. From its very beginning, Tamassee DAR School has been committed to supporting children, youth and families. Tamassee DAR School will continue to support a quality education for the children we serve– through the Pennsylvania Children’s Center offering high quality early childhood education, our Academy program for middle school youth, our commitment to after school programs and tutoring, and through the various Scholarship opportunities for current students and alumni. We will continue to invest in after care programs that support families and older youth to be successful. We will continue to provide a safe and loving environment for children needing a home. And, we will also continue to provide a safe space for children and families to work through the grief and loss they have experienced to open the door for them to move toward health and wholeness.
But in other ways, things will change, because the needs of children and families, our community, and our region will evolve, new challenges will emerge, and new opportunities will present themselves. Our goal will always be to preserve the legacy of Tamassee DAR School while also evolving to meet the challenges of the future. We will continue to meet with and talk to community leaders, DAR Sponsors, parents, children, youth and other stakeholders to learn about emerging needs, and how we can do the most good. Two areas we are looking to strengthen soon are to provide mentors for youth in our care and foster families to further expand our reach of service to children in need beyond our campus borders.
Originally named by the Cherokee, Tamassee means “the place of the sunlight of God.” What a wonderful place for this school to call home. I believe God established a ray of sunlight for children and families in need when he inspired the Daughters of the American Revolution to found the Tamassee DAR School almost 100 years ago. During this century, it has shown his light of love, care, healing, and growth into the lives of countless children. As we go forth into a bright future, my prayer is that we continue to shine as a beacon of hope for children, youth, and families of Appalachia.
– Lori Bailey, CEO