It does take a few minutes to adjust to a whole school were there was only one family. It is, therefore, all the more amazing that I feel only happiness if I had to put it in one word. And I think the reason is that “love” is everywhere.
Washington, Connecticut (PRWEB) February 24, 2015
The Glenholme School, a therapeutic boarding school for students with learning differences, celebrates Heritage Day on February 28 in honor of Jean White Van Sinderen and commemorates 50 years of her gift of Glenholme to Devereux. As genuine models of generosity, Mrs. Van Sinderen and her family understood the benefit of giving ardently to a worthy cause — one which suited the unanticipated reality of social change in an increasingly complex world.
The odyssey began nearly 125 years ago, when William Leslie Van Sinderen acquired several parcels of property in Washington, Connecticut, on which to make his family home in the countryside. The property was named Glenholme for his dream of having a Scottish cottage at the edge of a glen. In the early 1900s, William’s son, Adrian, developed the property into a full-fledge farm and ultimately, an internationally recognized horse farm. Upon Adrian’s passing in 1964, his widow, Jean White Van Sinderen wished to extend the joy of Glenholme to a worthy cause. Through family and friends, Mrs. Van Sinderen was connected to The Devereux Foundation. Together with Helena Devereux, the special needs pioneer and founder of Devereux, and their mutual understanding of the power of education to inspire, provide hope, and build pathways to previously unseen opportunities, the gift of Glenholme to Devereux was formalized in 1965.
Miss Devereux captured the moment magnificently, “If what I want to do is right, good people will come forward and support the effort.” She further expressed, “Even in my most vivid dreams, I never pictured any such fine event coming to this organization…The only way to say thank you for this precious gift is to take full advantage of the opportunity when it becomes a reality and make Glenholme the means of changing so many young lives.”
The Glenholme School phased in operations over the course of the next several years. The first phase, a boarding program for girls ages 9 to 14, opened in the late fall of 1967 on only 60 acres of the 110 acre property. With Mrs. Van Sinderen’s passing in 1968 and the gift of the remainder of the property to Devereux, the school expanded its official operations and became a coeducational therapeutic boarding program later that same year.
Glenholme and Devereux were blessed by the conviction of the Van Sinderen family for many years following the gift of the property. Alfred Van Sinderen, Jean’s youngest son, established and served on the The Glenholme School’s Advisory Board for many years. He also served on the Devereux Board of Trustees as a member and Chairman for many terms between 1972 and 1996. Alfred’s daughter, Sylvia Van Sinderen Abbate, continued the family tradition and served on the Devereux Board for two years and was Chair in 1999.
Mrs. Jean Van Sinderen’s daughter, Katherine Howe, reflected on the odyssey in a letter to Devereux in 1971. “It does take a few minutes to adjust to a whole school were there was only one family. It is, therefore, all the more amazing that I feel only happiness if I had to put it in one word. And I think the reason is that “love” is everywhere.”
In the 50 years following the Van Sinderen gift of Glenholme to Devereux, The Glenholme School has helped thousands of students with social, emotional and learning differences find success through a transformative educational program — one that honors the Van Sinderen family legacy and has integrated the character values of kindness, caring and civic responsibility that the family held in such high regard.
Known for their incredible generosity, the Van Sinderen family is, and always will be, an enduring element of Glenholme—they are a part of its past, present… and future.
About The Glenholme School:
The Glenholme School, a center of the Devereux organization, is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) therapeutic boarding school for young people with high functioning autism spectrum disorders including Asperger's; ADHD, OCD, Tourette's, depression, anxiety, and various learning differences. The program provides a treatment milieu designed to build competence socially and academically. Our learning environment supports and enhances the ability for young people with special needs to succeed. Devereux is a leading nonprofit behavioral health organization that supports many of the most underserved and vulnerable members of our communities. For more information about The Glenholme School and its program, visit http://www.theglenholmeschool.org/home/.