The mission of our Meetup group is to bring gifted children (ages 3 - 17) and their families together with other gifted families, to provide a safe place for the entire gifted family where they are around true peers who understand them and accept them.
Are you a parent of a gifted child in the Riverside County, CA area? Is your child intelligent, sensitive and compassionate, but sometimes has a difficult time dealing with their emotions and social situations? Do your child's extreme interests, sensitivities and intensities at times puzzle you and others or make it hard for them to fit in? Are you looking for friends for your child that will understand them and accept them and parents who will understand what you are going through? Then our group may be the right one for you. We are a group of "Gifted Families" with children in public, private, homeschooling and unschooling environments. We are accepting of all forms of education, as our main focus as a group is on the social/emotional health and growth of our children.
As the Organizer of the group, and a parent of a gifted daughter, (age 9 then, 14 now) who was bullied in school because of her "uniqueness," I found it difficult to find local support and resources when my daughter started experiencing some of the unique social and emotional issues that can go along with being a gifted child. I tried to find a gifted or bullying support group in our area but could not find one, so I thought I would try and start one myself. I have spent the last 5 years trying to educate myself on this new "gifted world." I have found some great resources that offer information and support for parents of gifted children.
One of the articles I found in my search for answers was an article interviewing a teacher of gifted children for over 26 years, who was also part of a study back in the 70's to develop a program to fit the needs of gifted children in the public school system. An excerpt from that article is below, it sums up the article nicely and also describes the mission of our Meetup group:
"In trying to help determine the type of program to develop for the gifted in the district, many models were explored. Some of the earliest research on the effectiveness of gifted programs was difficult to interpret, as it seemed that whatever format was used showed gains for the gifted, not just in their intellectual pursuits, but in their social and emotional growth. A conclusion that was drawn from this was that just by putting gifted students with their peers, they thrived. I definitely witnessed that during my 26 years of teaching gifted students in several different programs. They need a peer group who accepts them, understands them, values them, and challenges them. It can be lonely to be the “only.”
Another gifted professional talks about what can happen when a gifted child is not supported, understood, or accepted: "Because I have seen too many gifted and highly sensitive children (HSC's) whose depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem prevent them from expressing whatever talents they have. The gifts are there.... How can we tell if a child is gifted or say he or she is if that child is too afraid to ask questions, too upset to learn big words, or too depressed to have a subtle sense of humor?"
The quotes in the two paragraphs above, are something I agree with wholeheartedly and have witnessed personally. This Meetup group and the true peers and friendships my daughter has found, have been a key part to her recovering from extreme emotional bullying in the public schools, and debilitating anxiety and depression. It has also helped her to grow her self esteem and an acceptance and positive awareness of her uniquely gifted traits.
If you would like to start sharing and receiving support from other gifted families in your area, please consider joining our group! If you need immediate or further support or resources, you can find links to gifted related websites, articles, blogs and more under the "Pages" tab at the top of our Meetup page. Yearly membership dues of $22.50 are required to attend Meetups after your 14 day trial period (see how you can attend all Meetups but not have to pay dues below) and are greatly needed and appreciated. They are used to help pay the expenses of running our Meetup group. If you would like to be exempt from having to pay dues to attend Meetups, please consider joining our Leadership Team by requesting to become an Event Organizer, all that is required is that you commit to and host or schedule at least 1 new Meetup each year. This can be as easy as inviting others, through a Meetup listing, to join you on a family outing or meet you at a favorite venue! By attending a Meetup, or better yet scheduling a new Meetup yourself, you personally can be a great support and help keep our Meetup group alive and thriving! A friendship with your child or the experience you have to offer as a parent, just may be the support another member of the group is needing at that time.
We look forward to meeting another family going through some of the same things we are, and to growing a group of friends who will support us as we raise our very unique children and help them reach their highest potential socially, emotionally, and academically.
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