Kurn Hattin has given me many opportunities. Here, I am a houseparent, substitute teacher, and a basketball coach. I have been a staff member at the Homes for about three years now. I came to Kurn Hattin when I was six years old and stayed until I was 15.
When I was in public school, I was usually labeled as a “PROBLEM CHILD.” My former teachers in kindergarten would tell my mother how awful I was in class. I had ADHD. They said I could not focus, I distracted others, I could never stay still, and I was all over the place. So my mother applied for me to come to Kurn Hattin. I remember getting a tour of Hubbard Cottage (the youngest girls’ residence.) I felt like Hubbard was my dream place, seeing the pretty doll houses and toys to play with. I started playing with a bunch of toys quietly. The Principal Mr. Fahner asked my mother, “Does she always play like this?” My mother said, “Yes. She does.” Mr. Fahner explained to my mom that the school I was attending said that I did not do well independently.
Then I was on a two day trial to see if Kurn Hattin was best for me. My first day was successful. Mrs. D., my first houseparent, made me feel welcomed and safe. On my second day, I screwed up and made a big mistake. I pulled the fire alarm in my cottage, and the ambulance and fire trucks came immediately to the cottage. I never knew what a fire alarm switch was before. It was just a red shiny thing. So I pulled it. I learned my lesson after that!
I was given another chance and welcomed to the Homes as an official student. I had my ups and downs, but what child doesn’t. I repeated 7th grade. It was an embarrassing time for me seeing my friends graduate a year before me. But I realized that it was for the best. It gave me an extra chance to grow and move towards the place I am at now.
After Kurn Hattin, I was able to go on to the Milton Hershey School, and then to college at New Hampshire Technical Institute (NHTI) to get a degree in Early Childhood Education. After I graduated, I started working at Kurn Hattin. Being a houseparent has given me the opportunity to express to the kids that they are not alone. I understand where they are coming from and what they are going through in life. I love making a difference in a child’s life, and that’s exactly what I have been doing. I am thankful to Kurn Hattin for giving me this opportunity to grow and to help other children grow.
~ Meranda Chandler, Class of 2008