The K12-powered Goodrich family is receiving the best Valentines gift they could have ever hoped for this year, thanks to Operation Finally Home, a nonprofit organization that helps injured veterans by building them a new home.
U.S. Army Sgt. Timothy and Jacqueline Goodrich have two children. Eight-year-old, Lucy is in 2nd grader at Virginia Virtual Academy (VAVA) and their 5-year-old son, Tag plans to enroll at VAVA in the fall.
In February of 2012, Timothy was seriously wounded while in combat during his deployment in Afghanistan. From then on, the family’s “normal” day consisted of traveling back and forth to military medical centers to be by his side as he recovered.
Lucy also began experiencing a serious anxiety issue. She would have panic attacks if she was in large groups or away from her parents for more than three or four hours.
“This made it impossible for us to put her in a normal school setting,” Jacqueline said.
Lucy was only 3-years-old at the time. They decided to enroll her to VAVA, where she could learn in a comforting and controlled environment.
“Because Lucy has done school through K12, she doesn’t view learning as something that just happens in a certain building,” Jacqueline said. “She looks for things everywhere we go and in everything we do that relate to whatever we learned that week in history, science, or art and all her other subjects. School and learning have no boundaries now!”
Operation Finally Home is not only building a new home for the Goodrich’s, but also a strong foundation for a beginning.
“After the extreme highs and lows of the past five years, we are looking forward to peace and rest for the first time in a while,” Jacqueline said. “We are so humbled that dozens of contractors and vendors are coming together to give our family a better quality of life. We never dreamt we would be in this position and we just hope now that we can put our extra energy and resources into continuing our fight for better care and resources for other wounded warriors.”
On Monday, the family had a walk through of the new home. In one of the rooms there was a special surprise waiting, “notes of love” from family, friends, Lucy’s VAVA teachers, and even K12 CEO Stuart Udell.
“The walk through was an amazing experience,” Jacqueline said. “Seeing all the letters from VAVA teachers and K12 hanging in the school room was a great surprise. Lucy feels special and so loved by her online school community!”
Lucy and Tag are excited for their new online learning room. The room will feature built in desks, shelves, and big windows to let the sunlight in to energize them each morning.
“They will get to have their own space instead of a corner of a dining room,” Jacqueline said. “I know it will inspire them to love learning and be excited to do school each day.”
Jacqueline and Timothy are thankful for how online school lets them closely watch Lucy grow and learn new things.
“As a parent I love that I get to be present for Lucy’s ‘Ah ha!’ moments!” Jacqueline said. “I also love that we get more time for her to enjoy being a kid. When you sit in a large classroom so much time is spent on waiting for others to grasp a concept, even if you already have. Doing school one on one through K12 allows Lucy to learn and focus on the work, then play and experience other things we wouldn’t have time for with a conventional school schedule.”
Jacqueline is also amazed by the quality of the K12 curriculum.
“I never dreamt that by 2nd grade my child could explain the Peloponnesian Wars or which Roman Emperor was the worst leader,” Jacqueline said. “The teachers are incredible. They, and the school administrators, have supported our family and unique situation from day one. They are always willing to do anything possible to ensure Lucy succeeds at school and has time to do the things we need to heal as a family. “
The family is also busy with extracurricular activities. Lucy has four dance classes a week and once a week she attends a children’s art class at the USO for other wounded warrior kids, like Tag and herself.
Inspired by her own children, Jacqueline is the founder and president for The Generals Kids, a non-profit organization that focuses on the children of wounded, ill, or injured soldiers. She refers to these children as our “little warriors.”
“Our family lives everyday with the effects of war,” Jaqueline said. “But we are thankful for a second chance to build a new future together. We don’t waste time with anger or bitterness. Because of what we have been through we can help others coming after us.”