I’m 14 years old and very artistic. I love art. I’m really smart in school and my favorite subject in school is math.
I was once sexually abused, and I’ve been in foster care ever since. I’m in this program because I run away a lot, but I’m working on it. Someday, I’m hoping to live with a foster family that I’ve had in my life since I was four years old. I call them Grandma and Grandpa.
The staff here does a lot for me. Along with group programs, I have a social worker, a team leader, a psychiatrist, and a transition coordinator, who will help me adjust when I re-join Grandma and Grandpa. My favorite thing helping me here are my team meetings.
Each month, everybody helping me sits down to talk with me. We talk about my strengths, my weaknesses, what I’m working on, my diagnosis, and what meds I’m taking. And then we come up with a plan for discharge. They really keep me involved in what’s going on with my care, and care about what I say-everything is right on the table. I know what’s going on with my treatment, and they don’t hide anything from me.
We also have community meetings with staff and other kids. Most families sit down at dinner and have a conversation about their day and how do feel. Here, community meetings let us say how we’re feeling, what our goals are for the day, and who we’re going to ask for help. The meetings are really important because there are a lot of kids here, and our moods go up and down. It’s good to know if a friend is stressed, so I can give them a little bit of her space or ask if they need help.
I get to be a regular kid here while getting my treatment. On weekdays, I wake up, eat breakfast, go to school, come back for lunch, and then finish my school day. I go shopping around Mount Pleasant, get ice cream, bake, ride go-carts, and paint. I never knew how much I like to paint, and it really helps me learn to cope and take constructive criticism.
I used to hang around with too many of the wrong people, but now I know how to focus on improving myself and getting better. Instead of screaming and yelling, I work with people and explain how I feel. I talk to the staff if I’m worried I’ll do something wrong, because I trust people to help me come up with a better way to deal with how I’m feeling. I care about my treatment, and I’m working to stop doing things that could possibly hurt me. I know how to advocate for myself and stay involved with my care, and that’s given me a lot of confidence.
Someday, I want to go to college and become a child advocate. I want to become a foster parent, too. My staff, Grandma and Grandpa are the ones that kind of give me hope for that, because they’re always telling me I’m really smart and can do it, because I’ve made it this far.
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