To The John Austin Cheley Foundation,
I am writing this letter on behalf of my 17-year-old son Devin M, whom received a scholarship from the Cheley Foundation, to attend the Sanborn Camp in Colorado for the Summers of 2015 and 2016. I can honestly state that my son’s acceptance and the scholarship program has changed my son’s life for the better. His experiences there and the staff he encountered, has not only made him a more well rounded individual, but a stronger man with a love of nature, his place in it and the animals we share it with.
As a struggling single mother from the inner city of Wilmington, DE, I firmly believe that his experiences and meeting the staff and counselors at Sanborn helped shape Devin into a responsible and well adjusted young man. Without the scholarship opportunity, his summers would have been spent trying to figure out his place amongst the “undesirables”. He went to a great school and discovered ballet, but as a young Latin male with distant positive male role models in his life, I needed to expand his horizons from the little world of Delaware.
He went scared, angry, and completely insecure w/o an idea of what to encounter. His first week there was filled with trepidation, homesickness and a distrust of anything unfamiliar. After a week of letters of “please let me come home”, it went to “don’t have time to write much Mom… I am so busy with new adventures and friends.”
My son recently received a scholarship to the Joffrey Ballet School and the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in NYC. Talent obviously helped him achieve this goal but I also believe that self-esteem, inner strength, and confidence helped him achieve this as well. Sanborn gave him that. Devin knew he could accept new and difficult challenges that made him afraid but he could succeed. He learned that if he keeps his eye on the prize, he can win. He could be a leader and not a follower to achieve his dreams. He made friends at Sanborn and met men (his counselors) he could trust that had his best interest at heart.
Sanborn played an important role in my son’s development as a young man. He got to see a whole world in it’s truest and most innocent form. Horse back riding, wild water rapids, strategic games teaching teamwork and self-reliance, hiking, volunteer opportunities and more.
I wanted to write this letter to let all involved know how this has helped my son…and in return, how he has helped others. We foster dogs and help them find homes because he is aware of others needs. He has volunteered for a political party because he believes he has something to offer. He is a happier person for having made the friendships and his experiences he could only have made at Sanborn.
How do I say thank you enough to all those whom donate to Cheley and Sanborn? Words seems so futile but as they are the only words I have, please know from the bottom our hearts…
Warmest and deepest appreciation and respect,