Raising Thomas

After 8 months, my Senior Thesis, Raising Thomas, is done. Last night was the grand opening of NEXT at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., which is the culmination of all the seniors thesis projects at the Corcoran. I do not know the exact numbers but close to 2,000 people showed up for the opening reception and party that was held in the gallery and it was spectacular!

Thank you to all the people who came out to see my project as well as all the other projects. It was so good to see everyone and I’m sorry I was not able to spend a lot of time with each of you but I am eternally grateful for each and everyone.

Now for the web debut of Raising Thomas! Let me know what you think in the comments!


Millions of parents each year begin their golden years when their children have left the house and moved on to begin new lives of their own. The parents rediscover the freedom they once had before children. When my brother Ben and I moved out, our youngest brother Tom remained at home. In many ways, Tom is a 12-year-old boy in a 22-year-old man’s body, because he is developmentally delayed. During the almost nine years Ben and I have been gone, my parents and Tom have formed a special relationship. This project is a portrait of that relationship.

When Tom turned 21, he had to leave the public education system and it became a struggle for my parents to fill his schedule and keep him busy. While Tom is dependent on my parents, he is also trying to find his own life. My parents worked hard to raise their children and now find themselves with a son who cannot move on the way Ben and I have. Tom’s dependence presents them with emotional, financial, and relational challenges that most parents do not face. While their situation is special, it is not unique; all parents of disabled children face not only the struggles of raising and caring for a child with disabilities, but the challenge of caring for their child as both the parents and the child grow older.

Shot, Produced, and Edited by Samuel Corum
Music by Kevin Macleod

9 thoughts on “Raising Thomas

  1. Susan, David and Tom allowed me into their daily lives several years ago when I visited for the weekend. I felt blessed to be able to witness their strength, resolve and love. This is what family is all about. I am so proud to be a part of their lives for all of these years, with our continuing friendship, and I am so proud that Sam has been able to capture so beautifully what this family is all about.

  2. I was very touched by it. Knowing your brother and parents, it was genuine. Filmamking at its best is poignant and honest. Many families go through this, and it reminds me of my own responsibilities for my brother. In fact, I think I will call him now.

  3. Great love , What a tribute to a wonderful family and life with your dear brother. May your journey with Thomas always
    remind others of God’s unending love . I pray for strength for your family as there are days when their load is heavy.
    I pray for hugs and laughter to outweigh the stressful times. I know Thomas is surrounded by a family of love-because
    I know the family he is a part of is very dear. Congrats on your accomplishments and thanks for sharing this tribute.
    Hello to your mom & dad. Tell your mom , Susan that her AOII little sis loves her much and give her a hug for me!!!
    Ginger Newbill (Jackson, TN)

  4. Thanks for sharing this touching portrait with us. It was great to see and hear our former neighbors Susan, Dave, and Thomas again after these many years. We still miss you. Congratulations, Sam!
    Lisa Cannon (Chincoteague, Virginia)

  5. Sam: My heart is filled with Thomas’ story and the loving way you have portrayed him. Unique in the way you have not used his voice, but the voice of your caring parents to convey the journey they have traveled with him. It reconfirms our knowing how special your family is to each of you. Beautiful ending to your work at the Corcoran – much success and many blessings for your future, Gloria, Randy & Heather Bartholomew (Colesville, MD)

  6. Sam, You have made me proud and happy to know you and to see how much you have matured through your family life, U.S. Marine Corps service, and now the talents you have expanded and refined in your Corcoran education. When we were neighbors on Arbor View Road you showed me your J.F.K. High School art portfolio. How far you have progressed! You have touched my heart and life. I wish you the best in the future. Barbara Holmlund (Silver Spring, MD

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