“It’s not all butterflies and unicorns”: A recent Shelterwood graduate, Crosby Child’s, shares candidly about the ups and downs about being home after graduating the program.

Having grown up in a caring home with a stay-at –home mom and a dad who worked hard to support the family, Crosby’s trouble didn’t start until middle school, a difficult time for anyone. Then, being forced to move at the end of Grade 6 and leave everything familiar behind, Crosby began to mix with the “wrong crowd” and it “turned her life upside down.”   She became angry and stopped confiding in her parents and spent more and more time with her friends, making poor decisions. During her freshman year, she went through even more radical changes: she was moving again to Oklahoma and she found out she was pregnant with a child with special needs. Her anger and bitterness towards everyone spiked. Her move to Oklahoma didn’t change much…she continued to hang out with the wrong crowd and got involved in drugs and alcohol. She started skipping school and all of these decisions really affected her grades and her relationships at home, which went from bad to worse.

Crosby was brought to Shelterwood in November of 2012 where she experienced “ups and downs” for fourteen months and graduated in January 2014. Her highlights include activities such as horseback riding classes, being celebrated as she moved up levels, meeting “a lot of wonderful young women,” and traveling to Haiti twice to work at orphanages. But what stands out the most for Crosby is being baptized with her best friend which she says, “was more than [she] could over ask for and it brought [her] closer to God.” While at Shelterwood, she learned that she was smart and capable at school, that she was able to love others “safely” and make wise decisions, and how to have friendships without unhealthy dependency.

Since graduating from Shelterwood in January, Crosby has been busy raising Tommie (who will be 3 in May) and working to finish school so she can go to college to be a dental hygienist and travel. Her dream is to do missions work and maybe live in a country such as Haiti for a year. While returning home has been difficult and a definite adjustment for Crosby and her family, she says she knows better how to handle struggles and that even though it might not have seemed like it at the time, “Shelterwood was the best thing that ever happened to [her].”