Light From the End of the Tunnel

by Andrea Wackerle

Celebrating our Children, by Liz Simpson

I am just finishing up a whirlwind adventure with SOAR that kept me on the road for two weeks and put me in touch with families and soon to be SOAR Alumni from all over the country. In the past month, I attended the Gap Family weekend, joined the Academy Family Celebration and Graduation, followed by hosting 14 new SOAR families lead by John Willson and Jonathan Jones through a memorable SOAR Family Weekend. What a fantastic learning experience this has been for me and everyone involved.

I want to share some quotes from these events that I think exemplify the heart of SOAR and why being a part of SOAR is truly a life-changing experience for all involved.

The things that stood out for me:

“If parents can believe, truly believe, in their child, the child will start to believe, that’s what we do here at SOAR, we believe in their children.” The marvelous Joe G

“We give our students an opportunity to rewrite the story they have been telling themselves, or others have been telling them, for all these years. We give them new adjectives to use, new adventures to include, new supporting characters to incorporate.” The sedulous

The amazing Angelica- English Teacher, Academy at SOAR.

“We don’t fix your children, they are not broken. They just need to be understood.”  The marvelous Joe G, Director, Academy at SOAR.

“The most powerful component of what we do is in the relationship we build with your child. It is what drives the student.” The incredible Julie L.

“When I dropped him off here, he wouldn’t look anyone in the eye, now he is standing up in front of a crowd giving a TED talk on a topic he is passionate about!” proud SOAR parent.

“He has friends here, they like him!” delighted GAP Parent

One of our Academy at SOAR graduates was so proud of himself because, after starting out as “someone who did not like math”, he had learned from his math teacher that there are “fifty ways to solve one math problem.” John Willson’s response was, “in life, there are fifty ways to solve any problem.” Now our kids know that to be true! Thanks to our infinitely wonderful math teacher Paul!

“I didn’t like being in a group before. Here I learned to be part of a team, and how to use my resources.” Glowing GAP student

“The greatest winners never won because they were born to win; They won because they were born to fail. If you ask any Olympic athlete they will tell you, your biggest opponent isn’t the person beside you. It is the person you look at in the mirror. If you can defeat yourself, you can defeat anything.”

    • The amazing Andrew Wilkes, 17 ADHD (I have his permission to quote him☺)

“This has been the greatest weekend. All of this information is really sinking in with my husband, I am seeing some lights go on.” Grateful Family Weekend mom. I am so excited to be a part of a program that we can truly say is life changing. In what ways have being a part of SOAR changed your life? If you would like to share your “Light at the End of the Tunnel” story with us, please email