Each year, we send a letter to our friends & supporters. This year's theme was "Reaching My Goals" and included the brave first person testimony of a student in residential treatment. We wanted to share it with you here, along with some original art by other students currently undergoing treatment, (and also themed). These are featured at the end of the letter--Enjoy!
Have you ever been afraid to ask for help? Reluctant to admit you need help? I certainly have. It is a feeling that never fails to remind me of our shared identity as beautiful, imperfect human beings. I continue to find endless amounts of hope in the young people who walk through our doors. I want to share with you a story from one such young person. Leah set a goal and took the initiative to get the help she needed. Her perseverance, determination and resilience are an inspiration. Bravely, she offers her testimony below. I hope you find it as powerful as I do.
“I am 17 years old and diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and PTSD. I have a history of being sexually and physically abused and for making unsafe and poor choices.
I was unhappy in my broken home. I ran away from home frequently and used drugs and alcohol to make me feel more comfortable and balanced--everything was ok because I was self medicating. In school, I was doing all right because I liked my teachers and the structure.
Then I unfortunately came into contact with police officers and went to the hospital. One of the officers gave me pamphlets on different treatment providers, and it was there that I learned about AK Child & Family. For a few days I thought about going there and looked at the services on the website. On my own, I made an appointment to tour the Maplewood Campus and learn about the program. When it was time to meet with Angie and tour the unit, I had to take the bus alone. It was exciting, but nerve-wracking. I knew that I needed help. I completed the application all on my own and submitted it myself. I interviewed and was admitted to Residential Services.
My first day, I was not happy. I felt hurt that I had to leave my mom and regretted going until I became more comfortable with the staff. I wasn’t defiant, just very lonely. I’m so grateful for a safe environment to work on myself and accomplish my life goals. AK Child & Family gives me hope. Hope that I will become a healthy and successful adult. I want to remain open to treatment and to learn how to trust. I need to focus on myself and to remain courageous, optimistic and hopeful. I’m feeling safe here at AK Child & Family.
Right now my goals are:
• Finish school. • Build a healthy relationship with my mom.
• Improve my self-esteem. • To be responsible and to gain independence to live on my own.
• Work on my addiction and recovery. • Join the military to attend college.
AK Child & Family has given me time, space and the safety to reflect on myself, allowed me to see there is room for improvement, and the ability to have hope for my future.”
Because of your advocacy, Leah was able to find AK Child & Family. Because of your gifts, students and families are able to receive the specialized help they need. Your support helps children in our care to identify and reach their goals in treatment, and beyond.
As we move toward a new year, please consider a gift to support and empower students like Leah and their families. It is your continued assistance that allows children at AK Child & Family to build strong, positive, healthy lives!
If you are interested in making a donation, click HERE
2018 STUDENT ARTWORK