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It’s A Start Up Life for Us

Working Hard & Hardly Working

Heartwood ALC has been open and running for three weeks now. I’m stoked to have accomplished this though I haven’t really been able to or maybe just haven’t allowed myself to deeply feel and celebrate this. I’ve been working pretty much nonstop since ALF Summer 2016. Fundraisers, board meetings, staff meetings, buying resources, planning. I’ve been on GO GO GO!

This has not been without its challenges. In fact, it’s been full of them. Though I, to some degree, thrive on conflicts to solve so I am hardly complaining about it.

Fair to myself to say that I’ve been productive. I enjoy being in the zone all the time right up until the unforeseen exhaustion hits me. Some of it was due to housing instability, some related to excessive behavior management issues at school, but it’s mostly due to not providing myself a moment to take a break and refuel. I’m having to learn to let go of this notion of and guilt for not being hyper productive every waking hour of the day. It’s incredibly unrealistic.

Temporary-Space-Making & Awareness

We are currently and temporarily utilizing a shared space in the Clarkston Community Center while our dedicated space undergoes renovation and cleaning. This means that we have limited storage and have to reset the room at the end of the day since the center rents out its rooms to other people and organizations in the community. Our temporary rooms are also spread out and near the community center’s front office. We have to take extra great care that the students are respecting the fact that we’re in a shared space where people are working. This has been a hard practice. While it’s hard and annoying to always be concerned with the kids making too much noise and being disruptive, I think this practice will get them to be more aware of their surroundings and more intentional about their behavior in different spaces. This has led to many talks about being aware of our surroundings and respecting the community. It’s also revealed a lot of old Sudbury habits that need to be undone in the kids and myself.

Working Team

Me and Julia’s working relationship is getting significantly better with each passing week. This is possibly what I’m most excited about. I just love working on and with a great capable team. A team with a lot of trust, connection, and understanding helps the workflow seem effortless. We have Trellos the we hash things out on and have been meeting every week to review our own CMB and To-Do list. It’s been lovely.

This Is Hard Worth It Work

The days have been pretty intense and tiring. It’s been a serious chore trying to balance being the responsible adult supervision in the room with just being and playing with the kids. Running the school and connecting with the kids simultaneously will take some getting use to.

At the end of each day though, when I’m looking at pictures to post on the parent FB group, I tend to let out a breath of relief and swoon over the kids. Though my mind sometimes gets too worked up, when it’s relaxed I’m quite optimistic and sometimes very sure about how great this experiment is going to go.


  1. NancyT says:

    I hope you all are able to get in your permanent space soon! I remember when I had the kids inside a church where we had to be quiet too…yes I agree it teaches them to be aware of their surroundings, but it can also feel like this extra burden and stress. The start up lift is challenging. Because if you did work 24 hours a day, it still wouldn’t be enough. There’s always more to do, and you are totally right, you need to make time to relax and have down time. When you see more things that *could* be done that can be hard. But you’ll be more present with the kids and Julia if you come to school feeling refreshed and rested! And that’s wonderful to hear that you and Julia are finding your groove. Having a supportive, trusting, & playful partnership with your co-facilitator makes life so much easier and fun!

    I can’t wait to come visit someday. I’d love to bring some kids. Sending all of you love!!! -Nancy

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