Kate Reedy was a junior when she transferred high schools and fell in with the wrong crowd. “From the first week of the school year, I was going to school drunk,” Kate recalls. “The year was full of parties and I was getting involved with the wrong people.” That April marked one of Kate’s lowest moments. “Several of us got drunk at a rally and we were questioned by not only the school principal, but by the police as well. All four of us were arrested,” she remembers. Within a week, Kate was headed to Shelterwood, a turning point in her story.
“My arrest that April was a huge red flag for my family about everything else that had been going on during the year,” Kate says. “My parents knew I’d been drinking, but it didn’t hit them hard until I was being read my rights. Looking back, it was a huge wakeup call for my parents.”
Kate summarizes her arrival at Shelterwood in one word: relief. “I tried to keep a hard face on, but deep down, I was glad I was getting help. I got out of the car when we arrived at Shelterwood and I didn’t even cry . . . I was just so relieved to be there. I knew this was my chance. I knew I needed this and so I took it seriously.”
Kate’s therapeutic experience was particularly impactful, she shares. “My therapist made me feel like I was family,” she says. “I never felt rushed in our sessions and he gave me the time I needed, the time to talk everything through.” She feels the same about the young adult Mentors and even the kitchen staff. “Someone was always there for me. For someone like me who had been through so much, that’s so important.”
Without the distractions and pressure she’d experienced back at school, Kate felt free to explore her spirituality. “The God factor at Shelterwood is amazing. Everyone there has a purpose to live for God. The chapel services, church, Bible studies . . . all of it became important to me. Being away from the phone, the TV, the Internet and social media, I was not distracted by my phone and so I was able to focus on those things.”
Academically, Kate had the space and time at Shelterwood to excel. No longer under the negative influence of her peers at high school, Kate was determined to complete coursework and graduate high school. “I was able to graduate high school early because of the classes at Shelterwood. I know many therapeutic programs do not allow that, and if I had been somewhere else, I could have fallen behind. All the teachers were awesome and helpful.”
After a nine month stay at Shelterwood, Kate graduated. The transition home was somewhat challenging, Kate admits. “I got home during February of what would have been my senior year in high school. All my old friends were still in school. I struggled a lot being back home and trying to find the right relationships.”
“Everything was not suddenly perfect at home because I’d been to Shelterwood,” Kate shares, reflecting that no relationship is ever perfect. She knew her parents had been working just as hard at home as she had been at Shelterwood. “You will not come home and find that everything is suddenly great. I cannot stress enough how important it was for me to have that patience. Today, my mom is my very best friend and I cherish that relationship. That would not be the case without Shelterwood. I have good relationships with my family again, and that is so special.”
Kate is excelling professionally today too, and is proud of her career. Working in property management for a homeowners’ association, “most of my work is in customer service. I love talking to people!” she smiles.
The decisions Kate makes today lie in stark contrast to those she made before Shelterwood. “The friends I pick today are different, my priorities are different, even the guys I date are totally different. I wouldn’t have had goals or expectations for myself if I had not been to Shelterwood.” Kate attributes the shift to the confidence she gained while at Shelterwood. “I learned not to be scared to tell my story and to own my story.”
Most importantly, Kate says, she cherishes her relationship with God. “God is now a huge part of my life. I don’t know where I’d be today if I had not gone to Shelterwood.”