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Close to Home

April 8th, 2005 · No Comments

My college magazine intrigued me with an article by David L. Marcus titled Close to Home in which he details his experience writing a book about therapeutic schools—last-chance places for teenagers struggling with alcohol, drugs, and impulsiveness.

I couldn’t help think about my own community as I read these paragraphs containing what the kids at a therapeutic school in Massachusetts had in common.

Several factors keep surfacing, though. First, the kids felt lonely, like pariahs in their families. Most, but not all, had parents who were busy working, traveling, or dealing with their own emotional problems. Second, the kids lost their passion in middle school. They quit the swim team in a huff, or dropped piano lessons, or abandoned hobbies like photography. They spurned old friends.

A third characteristic stands out: nearly every kid in my group grew up in the suburbs or the outer ring of exurbs. Places that were farms and fields just a few years earlier. Places where parents relocate to be near good schools and far from problems. Places that force parents to commute long distances. Places where there’s no there there, like the developments that spread beyond the Washington, D.C., Beltway—the area where my wife and I settled for the sake of our son and daughter.

Also the same magazine led me to Pete Gilligan’s blog where he chronicled his college admission process and was chronicled himself in the college paper even before arrival on campus: ’09er blogged his way into Brown

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