Here at Oli, we help students develop a portable sense of home.
Everyone knows the old saying “Home is where the heart is,” but here at Oliverian, we believe that the opposite — “Heart is where the home is” — is an even better way of relating the two. That’s because for truly well-adjusted young adults, home isn’t a physical place; it’s an internal thing. It’s that confident sense of identity, voice, and purpose that allows them to find their role in any group, their place in any situation, and their home wherever they happen to be.
Building a Home
Achieving that portable sense of home is what developmental theorists call “individuation,” which means taking all the bits of personality and experience that you’ve collected during your childhood years and synthesizing them into a unified self. This is the most important task of adolescence — and also the most difficult. Individuation can be scary, lonely, embarrassing, and disorienting. If you have the courage to look back on your own adolescence, you’ll probably remember experiencing those feelings.
For the smart, quirky, sensitive adolescents who call Oliverian home, the process of developing a portable home can be particularly challenging. That’s because many of our students haven’t really felt at home anywhere for quite a while; not at school, not with their peers, not in their own skin — they often don’t even feel at home at home.
Finding a Home
Oliverian provides a home for teens who may feel “emotionally homeless” — those internalizing, over-thinking, avoidant, deep-feeling, fearful, creative, anxious, square-peg, precocious adolescents who quietly ask, “Why?” and really, earnestly, seriously need an answer! At Oliverian, we provide the right combination of guidance and space to steer these adolescents in the direction of their own “because, ___” that sense of internal clarity that comes with knowing who you are no matter where you are.
For these remarkable young people, finding this sense of self requires a safe place to emerge, engage, play, learn, experiment, fail, recover, and connect — the kind of space that Oliverian constantly seeks to provide. At Oli, we give teens the room they need to try on different identities until one fits and feels like home. That’s when home starts to become an internal reality, a state of the heart, a unique way of thinking, seeing, believing, engaging, and contributing.
When your sense of home becomes truly portable, those of us who are not developmental theorists might call it something more familiar: growing up. Providing a safe place to do that is what Oliverian does best.