I was so sad, scared and felt very alone
Before Shelterwood my home life was not ideal. My family was broken and we were all miserable living under the same roof. My parent’s didn’t understand me, and I refused to abide by their rules and got myself into dangerous situations with drugs and alcohol.
Upon my arrival at Shelterwood, I was so sad and scared and felt very alone. I believed in God before Shelterwood, but didn’t have a real relationship or really know who Jesus is. I was confused and angry about why this was happening to me. I questioned God…. This was not a part of the plans I had for myself. I was about to go into my junior year of high school and play on varsity volleyball team with one of my best friends. Then my life totally turned around on August 14, 2012 when I was immediately surprised and uprooted from my life in California to come to a therapeutic boarding school in Missouri.
At Shelterwood, I kept an open mind and tried to make the best of my time there. Being around all the love and support of the Shelterwood staff and other students is what really got me through my struggles and helped me understand the love of God. My time at Shelterwood taught me to be kind. I saw people at their best and worst moments and loved them regardless, as they did for me.
Some of my best friends are those I met at Shelterwood, both staff and students, whom I still keep up with. My relationship with my parents also improved as we had some space and time apart to reflect on our relationship and ourselves. With the help of my counselor, we were able to communicate more effectively and treat each other with understanding and respect. Although, our relationship still isn’t perfect as we have disagreements and fights, we are much more open and understanding of each other.
My relationship with Jesus is my most improved relationship since attending Shelterwood. Those around me inspired me and my eyes were opened to God’s love and all the glory that He is. I found a specific quote while at Shelterwood and it has stuck with me even four years after leaving. It is by Marianne Williamson and says, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
I feel liberated after attending Shelterwood. My life has truly been changed and I would not have had it turn out any other way. I am now a sophomore at Chico State studying Kinesiology and hoping to become a physical therapist for children when I graduate. I will never forget the hardest, most transformative, most inspirational ten and half months spent in Independence, Missouri and I thank the Shelterwood community for all they have done for my family and me. I love you all!