Project Description

Going the Extra Mile: Sherry Shanklin’s Story

Most parents say they go the extra mile for their kids. Sherry Shanklin has actually, literally done it.

As a single parent of three developmentally/intellectually challenged children, Sherry has always worked to get what’s best for 15-year-old Amanda, 12-year-old Belladonna and 10-year-old John. Unfortunately, many of her efforts have been met with obstacles – especially her efforts to ensure her kids get a good education.

These challenges came to a head recently at a charter school where John and Amanda struggled behaviorally. Each day, Sherry walked her kids to school; on several occasions, she returned home from this walk and immediately received a call to return to school to pick up one or both of her children. John’s aggressive, impulsive and non-compliant behavior got him suspended several times. The school was exploring expulsion. Amanda’s challenges were not as severe, but she also was exhibiting some problematic behaviors.

Fortunately, someone at the school was aware of Damar Charter Academy (DCA) and recommended that Sherry consider it, noting DCA’s status as the only school in the state with a focus on serving families like hers.

Sherry did check out DCA and liked what she saw. In short order, she enrolled John and Amanda in the school; Belladonna was enrolled a short time later.

While the result has been remarkable, this solution came with its own obstacle – and this is where those extra miles come in. The family lived a good distance from Damar Charter Academy, and Sherry did not have a car. As a result, she and her children used IndyGo public transportation for over a year to get to and from school. That meant a bus ride of more than two hours each day for the children, and four hours each day for Sherry. Because she faces a severe health challenge, Sherry occasionally was unable to make the trip. On those days, her mom, Debra White, would step up and ensure the children arrived at DCA on time.

Today, the Shanklin/White family has moved closer to Damar Charter Academy, and Amanda, Belladonna and John are all excelling in their individual programs. Meanwhile, Sherry continues to do whatever it takes to assist them in their journey, with her mom always ready to fill in when needed.

Why all this effort? Because Sherry believes Damar Charter Academy is best equipped to help her children achieve their highest academic potential while developing the practical behavioral, communication and daily living skills they need for a brighter future.

As a result, Sherry’s willing to go the extra mile … and because of that, the Shanklin/White Family, a remarkable family achieving remarkable results, is being honored as the 2017 Damar Cup Honorary Family.