Shelterwood was my merciful second chance. It changed me for the better and there isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t thank God for giving me that opportunity.
Before Shelterwood I dealt with so many different issues. I had low self-esteem and depression that I “fixed” by drinking and partying. Every day I found myself getting deeper and deeper into this lifestyle. Before I knew it, I was driving drunk, disrespecting my parents, and never had a thought about God. I was slowly destroying myself and everything I was given. Then one day in May of 2013, I got on a plane and headed to Missouri.
The first day was filled with so many emotions, but a part of me felt relieved I was finally getting help. Whether I wanted to admit it or not, I was so drained from the life I was living. My counselor, made one of the biggest impacts on my life while I was there. He stood by my side and constantly encouraged me to see how truly wonderful I am.
My therapist showed me how to have a relationship with God and I will forever be thankful for that. The other staff members only added to that demonstration of love. There isn’t one staff member on campus that didn’t impact my life. I was taught how to be my own person in a world filled with temptations and learned to deal with my emotions in healthy ways. There was always someone there to help me better myself and become stronger.
My parents are the true heroes. Through this process they showed me more love than I ever thought possible. They didn’t judge me when I told them my secrets, but instead embraced me and told me everything would be okay. Getting me help was not an easy task, yet they stopped at nothing. They made it possible for me to break away from bad habits and start living my life the way God had always planned.
Over the course of nine months I learned to look in the mirror and see beauty, I built an incredibly strong bond with my parents, and I let go of all the struggles holding me down. Jesus Christ is my Savior and he is a part of my life on a daily basis. The relationship I have with Him will get me through any difficult times I may encounter, along with the support system I built while at Shelterwood.
Today, eighteen months after graduation, I have finished my first year of college with a 4.0 and began a career in property management. I am a driven, joyful young woman with such a bright future in anything I decide to pursue.