Road Scholar learning experiences have a powerful and positive impact on the lives of more than 100,000 adults every year. Making a difference in people's lives is the spark that fuels our passion to go above and beyond in the work we do here every day. It is always heartening, of course, when we hear directly from someone whose life has been deeply changed by a Road Scholar experience — and of the enormous difference our generous donors are making by supporting Road Scholar.
I recently received this note, and I am sharing it with you. It is a letter of thanks from a Road Scholar Caregiver Grant recipient. As you'll see, the financial assistance she received to participate in a Road Scholar program, made possible by the generous support of our donors, has impacted her deeply. Here are her words, which, I hope, bring you joy as you read of her experience.
Dear Road Scholar Donors,
I am a full-time high school math teacher living in a rural, small community. My mom passed away almost two years ago. I miss her terribly. Since then, I have been a caregiver to my dad, aged 93.
I love and respect my dad and am doing my best to keep him in his home. Caregiving is challenging, time-consuming, exhausting, heartfelt and necessary to ensure safety and quality of life for elderly parents. I am forever grateful for your gift of respite. My Road Scholar program, courtesy of you, was called "The Four Great Migrations" and took me to California's beautiful Central Coast. This experience helped me restore my sense of well-being and helped keep my mind and spirit open. During this trip, I was able to "just be," especially while watching the elephant seals on the beach near Piedras Blancas Lighthouse. While watching the butterflies at Monarch Grove, I was able to reflect on my life, on my current journey helping my dad, and on my personal journey as a still-grieving child. I watched the monarchs detach themselves from the safety of their cluster on the eucalyptus leaves and flutter to the ground, only to be battered by intense winds or soaked by rain and muddy soil. I watched as the monarchs persisted in making their seemingly impossible migration in the intense California storm. I realized I could continue to make my way in my own personal storm.
Elephant seals, monarchs and me — all on our own personal journeys, all part of the wondrous world, all part of life's master plan. These wonders inspired me to not give up on believing I can maintain my center — my equilibrium — despite the challenges of caregiving.
“Thank you for being my caretakers, for helping to restore my personal strength and center, for the generosity you have shown a stranger (me!) who needed a gentle place to ‘just be.’”
Hugs and peace to all of you!
Mary R. Casper, California Road Scholar Caregiver Grant Recipient
"Four Great Migrations Converge: Elephant Seals, Whales, Birds and Butterflies"
Funding for the Caregiver Grant comes from the generous support of our donors, who have benefitted from the experience of educational travel and want to give the gift of learning and renewal to those who are otherwise unable to participate. A gift of $1,300 covers the cost of one Caregiver Grant, providing a life-changing Road Scholar experience for someone who needs a break from the selfless tasks of caregiving. Friends who provide gifts of $10,000 and above can establish a named Caregiver Grant fund and create a permanent legacy of support.
Click here to learn about supporting Road Scholar Caregiver Grants, or call the Road Scholar Advancement Office toll free at (877) 737-0664.