A SIBLING'S REFLECTION
As most of you know, my brother Bradley attends Stewart Home and School in Frankfort, KY. I am very blessed to set up a booth during family weekend and meet all the amazing students, staff and families at his school. Myles Young, the director of media for Stewart Home asked me to write a piece from a sibling perspective and I was so honored! I hope y'all enjoy!
Stewart Home & School has been a home away from home for my brother, Bradley, for the last 11 years. He started “his college” when he was 17 years old after his senior year of high school. When my family and I drove from Tennessee to visit the school, we instantly knew this was the place for him. I could feel the love and genuine happiness when I walked on campus from the staff and students! All the students would walk up to us and ask us who we were, where we were from and tell us how long they had been attending the school – some local and some from different countries. One of my favorite weekends that I look forward to is Family Weekend each year! I get to meet new students and hear their stories. Every single day I’m thankful that Bradley has a place for continuing education of not only academics but also personal development, social skills, and practical skills. Bradley and I are one year apart, so growing up I always struggled with the fact that he didn’t always fit in at the school we were attending. Don’t get me wrong, he was “Mr. Popular”, everyone knew exactly who he was because he has never met a stranger, and everyone knew me as Bradley’s sister. Now, being at Stewart home he gets to fit in and be surrounded by his peers; (people like him), it's truly a cool thing to see. And yes, I am still known as Bradley’s Sister even at Stewart Home!
In high school, I was heavily involved in sports (competition cheerleading, swimming, diving, etc.) but Bradley was only able to participate one day a year in the Special Olympics. We grew up in a small town so “all year around Special Olympics” was not offered. I never knew how much he was truly missing out until he started at Stewart Home. Now, Bradley participates in softball, soccer, flag football, bowling, swimming, choir, bells and so much more all year! One of his favorite things to do is help people by doing hands-on projects, outdoor work, or anything that reflects a real-world job and experiences. This community has a lot to offer for someone like Bradley as well as kind staff that I witnessed truly care for their students and treat them as their own family. Something I also admire so much in the school is how they foster students ‘independence and their capabilities. When Bradley was at home, we would constantly be doing things for him versus letting him do it on his own. At school, he has learned to become independent in the way he thinks and acts which has matured him tremendously.
Stewart Home School has been a wonderful community for my brother over the past 11 years and I couldn’t imagine him anywhere else. This school has given him a whole new meaning of life and a chance to truly live it to his fullest potential. I believe the biggest reason why Bradley and other students thrive here is because they adhere to a structured schedule 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Don’t we all benefit from structure but may lack the discipline to do it? The staff at this school know how to take care of these special students! It is so remarkable how this community shares such a strong sense of belonging. Everyone I talk to knows who Bradley is and he truly feels seen and appreciated when someone knows his name and says hi to him. I am so thankful for this school and the staff for taking care of my best friend. Nothing can explain the joy I have for seeing my brother thrive and live his life to the fullest in his happy place!
Check it out on their website here: