What People Say:

I know R. is counting down the days until Beacon begins. It is such a positive, supportive, treasured and valued part of his life. Thank you for all you do!

Hello members of Beacon! For my presentation I decided I was going to read a thank you and a little bit of a  backstory for you all. So basically, in August of 2015, my mom told me she was going to have me go to this place called Beacon, apparently because it would be good for me to meet new people, take some new classes, etc. In all honesty, I was really against the idea. I hated trying new things and meeting new people, therefore I wasn’t thrilled. But I didn’t complain, I just went along with it because I figured you never know what can happen. Before I knew it, September came around and it was my first day at Beacon. The first month or two at Beacon I was extremely antisocial. Back then, I had really severe anxiety and depression and it gave me these nonexistent fears and caused me to overthink a lot, I also didn’t have many friends. My anxiety stopped me from a lot of things. It honestly terrified me to talk to you guys in the beginning because my anxiety was so bad and I was scared of how you all would think of me. After a couple weeks I decided I was going to try to socialize with you guys. Another few weeks passed and I realized how amazing all of you were and it amazed me at how much I had been overthinking for nothing. Before I knew it, I felt completely comfortable because I realized, I can be myself here and nobody will judge me. Being at Beacon has helped get rid of a lot my anxiety and has helped me with my depression more than I thought could be possible. As months went by, I made some amazing friends, I felt less alone, learned great communication skills, and became happy with my education. But the people here are the most important to me and have taught me the most. It makes me really sad to think I won’t be coming back because I’m transferring to public school. But you all are my best friends and I’m so glad I came here because each and every one of you has made a huge impact on my life. So I guess this is my thank you to all of you, because I will never be able to describe how much the people at Beacon have changed my life.


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Beacon has been life changing for my 15 year old son. He has been homeschooled his entire life and before coming to Beacon last fall, he was lonely and felt like he didn't have a place to fit in. He had chosen not to have any friends as the ones he used to have were not up to his high standards. He came to us and said he would like to go somewhere to make friends and be a part of a social group. We had heard about Beacon from a few of our friends so we reached out to Catherine and set up a time to come visit. From the moment we stepped foot In the space Beacon occupies, we knew we had found what we were looking for. Our son instantly felt comfortable. He loved the relaxed atmosphere, all the animals and the interesting way the kids and adults all interacted. He was eager to return and happily did so in the fall.

After one year at Beacon, he has grown tremendously. He belongs somewhere! He is more confident and more willing to try new things. He has a solid group of friends....they have organized many an activity this summer and have spent a lot of time at each others houses. We couldn't be happier as parents with how we have seen him grow. We love the adults at Beacon and the easy relationships they have with the kids. I love how the kids are empowered to make their own decisions and their own mistakes. We are all so excited for Beacon to start again in a few weeks and we are excited to see the changes this year brings! Thank you to all who have helped my child find his place!


Beacon is outstanding!  Our son has gone to Beacon since it opened; it is expanding his academic world and providing new relationships with other teenagers and nurturing, respectful adults who are responsive to his individual preferences and needs.  It’s a wonderful place for teens to learn together in a supportive, self-directed, non-coercive environment.


I cannot express how grateful I am for Beacon Self Directed Learning Center and its wonderful staff and volunteers.   In the early Spring of 2013 my then 7th grade son was having a difficult time in school.  Academically he was doing fine; his grades were excellent; all of his teachers loved him.  But a light was going out inside of him, I could see it, I could sense it.  Jorge was having a hard time connecting with his peers and in the process I believe he was losing his sense of self.  Being comfortable in his own skin.  Jorge is very talented and creative and his gifts were not being utilized in the school he was enrolled in at the time.  So we did one of the scariest things I have ever done in my life and we signed him out of public school.  We had no idea what we were doing but we knew there HAD to be a better way.  The original intention was to homeschool Jorge but this too had its challenges since my husband and I both work outside of our home.   We eventually found out about the Connecticut Homeschool Network and saw a posting about an Open House for Beacon Self Directed Learning Center.  Jorge and I both attended and it was amazing.  We were able to hear the stories of young men and woman who also left the public school environment and to listen to how they flourished over time.  Jorge has attended Beacon since May of 2013 and I must say it is like night and day.  It has been amazing to watch him grow in a setting where he is both challenged and supported.  The irony is not lost on me that the definition of Beacon is “a fire or light set up in a high or prominent position as a warning, signal, or celebration.”  Beacon showed us the way when we could not see a way and they gave Jorge both the space and support to find his way back to himself and the talents he already had inside of himself.  If you are a parent of a struggling teen I would highly recommend Beacon, it just may be the light your son/daughter needs to get back to their individual path.  

With Love and Gratitude,


It actually brought tears to my eyes to consider how my child improved this year. I can't thank you enough for all the kindness and support you gave her that made her believe in herself again. She enjoyed being at Beacon but she is ready to go back to school again and we are optimistic for her future.
Beacon parent