Please read through some of the sucess stories we have received from people in the community we have helped. Simply click on the name to open each.
If you, or a member of your family have reached the point where change is critical to your future, reach out to friends, parents, anyone who can help. If you feel you need professional support, we hope you will contact one of Family Continuity's programs. You can find out more by calling us at (866) 219-3320, or find more about services near you, visit our web-site at www.familycontinuity.org.
I would like to tell you the story of my son Patrick. I have been a single mother his whole life. Our journey through the system began when my son was in elementary school and was a very active, perhaps overly energetic child. I brought him to a therapist and he was diagnosed with Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). As he got older, he became more frustrated with authority and began to be disrespectful towards teachers and myself. His therapist and psychiatrist began to talk to me about the possibility that he may have a mood disorder in addition to his ADHD. He continued therapy and tried medications to address these challenges, but as he entered a charter middle school, he began to act more aggressively than in the past. Soon, we made our first trip to the emergency room for a psychiatric screening. Things went from difficult to worse. Over the course of a year, Patrick went through an endless series of treatment programs and supports (day treatment, hospitals, acute residential treatment, family stabilization, CHINS, educational advocacy to obtain an Individual Education Plan).
Patrick was approved for services through the Department of Mental Health (DMH) while he was at his last acute residential treatment placement. It was time to act and make sure he got into a stable setting where he wouldn't be missing school for his frequent hospitalizations. He had deteriorated so much in one year time, I couldn't stand to watch it go on any longer. DMH agreed and Patrick was placed in a specialized foster care program, through Family Continuity's Therapeutic Home Care Team. This was the best thing that could have happened to him. He was given an advocate, we were given weekly family therapy and he was safe. Having a father figure in his life helped him to stabilize to such a great amount it was unbelievable.
Patrick is now home and beginning to transition back to public school. He hasn't had school problems for over a year. He is almost 15, a freshman in high school and is a straight "A" student now. He played football on the public high school team, and even scored a touchdown. He is now playing on their basketball team and he has made new friends. We have a wonderful relationship and will be leaving the Family Continuity program.
He is a true "success story" of how our hard work and appropriate help can make a huge difference.
Rebecca's Story (age 27)
Before coming to Family Continuity, I was going through quite a few hardships in my life. I was struggling with depression, also I had a lot of anxiety about going out to public places, like stores and restaurants. It caused me to make really poor choices for myself. I started using drugs to escape the sadness I was feeling. I felt like I was stuck in a tunnel trying to reach the light at the end. The more depressed I got, the further away from the light I got.
Eventually, I turned to "cutting", hurting myself, to cope with my problems. At the time, I hadn't even heard that other people did that. I thought I was the only one. It was a very lonely time.
I tried medications and in-patient hospitals. The medications made me feel like I didn't have control of myself at all. I was so "sick of being sick." When I was in-patient, it did help me, but only until I got out. Then I felt the same as before. I decided I needed to actually want to change my life before anyone else could help me change.
I made the decision to try to change. I stopped abusing drugs and I stopped cutting. It took everything in me to change those things, but I got through it. Even though I'd succeeded at those, it wasn't enough. I still felt a sense of emptiness inside.
I called Family Continuity Programs and I started counseling a couple of days later. Since they have been involved in my life, I already feel more confident about my life ahead. I am learning the tools I need in order to get myself back to where I want to be. Now, I am able to face challenges with a clear mind and make rational decisions. I have realized it took way more of my energy to be depressed and worried all the time. I feel more calm and hopeful for the future. I still have a lot of work to do, but I've come a really long way already.
My name is Antonio and I am currently 18 years old. I grew up in a rough neighborhood in Lawrence with my parents and three siblings. I witnessed a great deal of violence and drug abuse both inside my home as well as out in the community. As far back as I can remember DCF has been a part of our lives. I recall being evicted from our family home on numerous occasions and being bounced around from place to place. My mother was really struggling with substance abuse and DCF finally became our guardians. Although some things were better for us, it was really hard because all of my siblings were not able to be together. Despite being separated we still remained close because we went through so much together as a family.
Unfortunately, I found myself living in a DYS lock up facility when I was fifteen. This really scared me, but I did what I needed to do and was fortunate enough to earn an interview at Family Continuity's SAIL Program. Thankfully, I was accepted shortly after my sixteenth birthday. Now I just needed to convince the principal at Beverly High School to give me a chance despite my background. My hopes were really high as my goal was to join the BHS basketball team. Basketball is my passion and it has been a great outlet for me since I was young.
Principal Gallagher gave me the chance to attend BHS with the condition that I become part of the ROTC Program and check in with the Major every morning. Even though I didn't want to do this I did so because I desperately wanted to play basketball for BHS my junior year.
So, life was going good for me, as smooth as I can remember. I had a lot of support at SAIL and built strong relationships with the staff. I made friends at school and with the guys on the team and felt good about myself. I am proud of the fact that I never got involved with using drugs and alcohol even though my peers were. My family history always remained fresh in my head and I knew it was a dead end road.
Although, I have had my ups and downs, the SAIL team never gave up on me and even advocated for me to come back to the program when I screwed up. I am so grateful because I was really struggling and started to slip in school and began skipping class. I was living in an apartment setting and didn't have enough support to help me day to day. It made me realize how well the staff at SAIL knew me. Sometimes I say that everything is going ok, but the staff at SAIL could see through that and would check-in with me, call my guidance counselor, teachers and basketball coach. I know they really cared about me and were invested in my future. My time away from SAIL was very rocky and my grades suffered a great deal. It made me realize all the support I had and needed in order to be successful.
I am pleased to share my senior year was better than I ever expected. My basketball team made the tournament; I completed my senior requirements, received the principal's award at the senior banquet, was asked by the principal and Vice principal to give the invocation speech at graduation and walked away with a high school diploma and scholarship to boot.
Graduation day was one of the proudest moments of my life and my family and SAIL staff were there to support me and applaud my success. I am grateful for all the opportunities that have been given to me even though I may not have deserved them. I am most proud of the fact that I don't use drugs and alcohol as I have directly seen how this has torn my family unit apart. Thankfully we remain close as siblings and I am hopeful that this closeness will grow with shared good times as opposed to pain and hardship.
I am bit nervous about what path to take next as I have a lot of interests. I have been accepted to North Shore Community College and am thinking of pursuing a criminal justice degree, but am also looking into becoming a barber through The New England Hair Academy. Who knows, maybe someday I will be a police officer and own my own barber shop. Why limit yourself. You got to dream big right? I could not have made this journey alone and now I know with help I can accomplish what may seem impossible.
My name is Angela. I am 41 years old and the mother of two girls: Samantha 13 and Victoria 11. I have a college education and always held upper management positions. I led a very full life; weekends were for the girls.
I have also been an addict most of my life. I have had times of being clean, but relapses were a regular part of life. My longest clean time was from 1997 to January 2006. But then, in a matter of weeks I lost my job, then my husband. I also lost the will to live. I spent all of 2006 doing nothing but getting high and because of it, I lost my girls. At that point, I did not care about anything or anybody.
I was a depressed addict in a new city. I never wanted to leave my house, and did not know whom to turn to for help. However, my insurance company sent me a Family Continuity Community Support outreach counselor named Lindsay.
Despite how bad things were, Lindsay was not willing to give up, she kept calling and knocking on my door until one day I finally opened it. Lindsay has been helping me for about 9 months now. She has been by my side all the way even when I went into the hospital for detox. She supported me while I went to the outpatient drug program SOAP. Even when my bad luck got worse, like when I lost everything in a house fire, discovered I have breast cancer, had a mastectomy, and now while I am receiving chemotherapy. Lindsay was my rock. She was/is a strength for me, an inspiration to help me stay clean. Before Lindsay walked into my life, I felt my life was going nowhere and nothing mattered to me, not even my family.
However, during the last 9 months I have had access to a psychiatrist, therapist, family doctor, welfare, food stamps and best of all, I am clean and see my girls once a week.
I know Lindsay's time is almost up with me and I will be very sad to lose her. I can honestly say that I would not be clean and happy, and feel like my life means something had it not been for the all her care, support and concern. Lindsay never gave up on me even when I wanted to give up on myself. She has been consistently reliable in a way that no one else in my life has ever been.
I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart, for everything, you have done for me.
Advice for others: When the door is there, go through it. Help is on the other side.
Sometimes life can throw you a curve and luckily for me and my three children, we were introduced to Family Continuity's C.A.S.S.P. (Child and Adolescent Service System Program) to help with the effects of that curve ball.
Three years ago, after 15 years of marriage, I became a single parent. I had to leave my children's father due to his addiction and abusiveness in the relationship. I rented an apartment and had to work two jobs because there was no child support.
Six months into our new apartment, I came home to find that we had been broken into by my ex-husband, who destroyed half of our home. Moving back to my parent's home was a temporary safe solution, but we lived in an over-crowded situation where none of the kids had a room or any of their belongings during the summer of 2007.
I had to keep a positive attitude telling them not to worry; that we would have our own place before the school year started. My words were not enough. I could not afford to keep up with dancing lessons or football or all the extra confidence building activities that the kids enjoyed. Up until this point, my 11 year old son was an outgoing kid who made friends easily but he was depressed and just about stayed in every day during his summer vacation. My girls were 7 and 5 and they were upset but they were young enough that I could distract them with going to the park and beach.
This is about the time I was introduced to Family Continuity and their C.A.S.S.P. I could not believe there was an agency out there so willing to help me get my children back on track. My main focus was to get my son out of the house and back into football or any sport he was interested in. C.A.S.S.P. was right there to direct me to Pop Warner sign up's and help with school supplies and clothes for the beginning of the school year. I am extremely grateful for their help.
We moved into another apartment with space for the kids. Financially I was a mess and could barely afford the move, but we needed stability; something they hadn't had in a long time. My son was starting to meet new friends being on the football team and things were looking better...unfortunately, not for long. About a month later, we were broken into again. This time it was a violent assault against me that my children witnessed, again from their father. The emotional damage on the kids was immeasurable. I was out of work for about six months so financially there was nothing left.
Through all this the director of C.A.S.S.P. always kept in touch with me to see how we were doing and to offer help with summer camps and other programs to keep the children positive and happy. Last year my son went to a football camp that was incredible. He played two great years of football and is now pursuing other interests. My girls went to summer camp and loved it. This year they are into martial arts. If it weren't for C.A.S.S.P. my children would have lost out on four years of their childhood experiences that build self-esteem, peer interaction and feelings of accomplishment. I'm sincerely grateful to Family Continuity and C.A.S.S.P.
How wonderful it is to have a program that has such a positive effect on our children's lives. Thank you for all your help and support during this difficult time in our lives.
My name is Andrea and I have a four year old son Sam who attends our local school's special education preschool program. I am a single parent whose job requires me to be at work before Sam goes to school. Luckily, Sam has been going to a family day care home about two blocks from our home. Just as school was ending in June, I started to hear rumors that our town was going to stop providing transportation for children in day care homes. I was told that he would have to be transported to and from my home. I was lost and did not know where to go for answers. One of my relatives told me about Family Continuity and the services they offered. She said that although the person she knew had lots of experience in special education laws, her office was located about sixty miles away.
I contacted the Lowell Wraparound Director and explained my dilemma. In this economy, I could not take the chance of losing my job, but I also could not allow my four year old to stay home alone waiting for his transportation to school in the morning. The director asked me to send her Sam's education plan and any other documentation I had so that she could review his records. A few days later, she contacted me asking if we could possibly meet to discuss the situation. The only day we could do it was on a Saturday, but that wasn't a problem for her.
After reviewing Sam's records, the Wraparound Director asked if I was happy with the educational plan. Since I was really not as familiar with my rights, as most families aren't, I did not realize that I could ask for more services for my son even though I had already signed his plan for the upcoming year. It was at this point that I realized I had more rights as a parent then I thought I did.
We wrote a letter explaining why his transportation was essential and that in actuality, it would not cost the town any additional funding to pick Sam up two blocks away. I made several calls to the various school department programs. They all went unanswered until I got direction on how to advocate for Sam. Once we wrote the letter, including copies to several people, I got an immediate phone call returned.
To make a long story short, Sam began school in September with transportation to and from his day care program. My son is also receiving double the services he would have gotten had I not gotten the help from Family Continuity. Although I may never need to talk to her again, she gave me her telephone number and told me to just give her a call if I have any questions.
I am writing a letter to thank you for your efforts to help my son access typical activities his brother has always been able to attend. Jimmy is autistic and has difficulty being in large groups especially those that may have lots sensory things happening. Over the years we have tried unsuccessfully to take him to a movie or other everyday events. Eventually my son was referred to one of your wrap around programs to assist us. The Wrap team told us about the various services they offer to families like their quarterly movie day. We politely turned them down letting them know that "we have been there done that" and it was a disaster. We explained to them the following example; One day Jimmy asked if we could take him to see a movie that had been advertised on television. He pleaded with us to go so we planned it on a day when there would not be many people at the theatre. As the movie started my husband and I thought this may work as we watched Jimmy with a huge smile on his face. Unfortunately within twenty minutes the sound got louder and then the sound was too loud he began to get upset and started to cry.
We could see that Jimmy was really trying his hardest to overcome the noise but it was just too difficult. To make matters worse a couple of people in the theatre started to shush Jimmy. Unfortunately we felt we needed to leave at that point. As a family with two sons it is difficult and heartbreaking for us to be able to bring one of our sons to a movie but have to leave Jimmy at home. That is until the Wrap Around program came into our lives. As you know the Wrap program provides activities for families like ours to be able to attend typical activities. They rent the theatre on a Saturday morning and invite all the wrap families. As anyone who has gone you will see there are many Jimmy's in the audience. Everyone understands why one of our kids might have a melt down and no one ever shushes a child. Staff is available to help a family if they need a break or take our child for a walk so that we can get some "me" time to enjoy the film.
Since we have been involved with the Wrap Program we have been able to take Jimmy and his brother too many movies, usually the day after it opens. They now are able to go to school and tell their peers that was a great movie. In addition to the movies we have been able to go on a fishing trip and too many other activities to mention. Our other son Peter does not mind going to any of the activities because he gets to spend time with siblings of children with disabilities.
In closing I just wanted to say thank you for helping our sons be able to access the community just like other typical families.
A Very Grateful Family
I would like to tell you how helpful and positive the staff and services provided by Family Continuity have been to my family.
My 15 year old son, Ted, has had many emotional difficulties over the years, yet was never given a clear diagnosis or effective treatment. Although I took him to numerous counselors and evaluations for over 8 years, nothing seemed to work and his behavior never improved significantly. About two years ago, our family consisting of Ted, his sister Sandy, now 13, and I started treatment with Family Continuity. After a while, the therapist who works with Ted suggested we get another evaluation, and then proceeded to find us several places that not only took our insurance, but had appointments open in the near future. Ted soon got an evaluation and a diagnosis of bipolar disorder that allowed us to move forward. As a result, Ted was started on medicine that did make some difference, and the evaluation revealed some other medical problems he had as well.
Dealing with a 15 year old with bipolar disorder and a volatile temper has been hard on all members of the family, and I feel that Family Continuity has taken a holistic approach where all areas are addressed. In addition to Ted's counseling, my daughter Sandy and I have benefited greatly from talking with other counselors. Even Sandy, who had been resistant to counseling, has delighted in having a positive mentor and looks forward to seeing her.
But it's Ted that has benefited the most from counseling and mentoring. He is currently very much enjoying the relationship he has with his mentor. Ted has been seeing him weekly and spends time doing a variety of positive activities such as hiking, building things, and exploring, all stuff he loves to do while at the same time being exposed to a positive, calm, male role model. Additionally, Ted attended karate classes for over a year, courtesy of Family Continuity, which was good for his self- esteem and also kept his weight, which has gone up with medicine, in check. Although he eventually tired of karate, he is now signed up for swimming at the YMCA, through a membership given to us by Family Continuity. He will be working on his swimming merit badge there, which is a step on his way towards the Eagle level in Boy Scouts, also good for his health and self esteem.
I am truly appreciative of all Family Continuity has done for all of us. After many fragmented years of trying to get help, we have found the staff truly committed and thoughtful. From smaller morale boosters such as giving us movie tickets or the wonderful opportunity to go horseback riding, to the important, comforting knowledge that there is someone to call and strategize with, or even just vent to, I can say we have not even come close to a group of professionals that have helped us nearly as much as the staff at Family Continuity.
I thank you, so much, for your help.
We are the parents of Pete, a 12 year old boy who is diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome as well as some other learning disabilities. This has proven to be a real challenge for both Pete and us as parents, as we believe it is for many families. One of the most difficult aspects that we have faced throughout this long process has been in knowing about and accessing services. In most cases, services for children like Pete exist, but navigating through the roadblocks to gain access to these services can be very difficult, especially alone.
This is why we write this letter today, to express our sincere gratitude to the groups at CASSP (Child and Adolescent Service System Program) that have made our navigation to services easier. We, as a family, belong to the Friday Night Support group. This group alone has helped us in so many ways. We have often left this group on Friday nights with information, phone numbers and web site addresses that we have used to gain more information on the condition that our son suffers from on a day to day basis. This group often has speakers that provide information and sometimes just offers respite on a Friday night that is a welcoming relief.
People make the difference. Beyond the services, one of the best things that CASSP has provided to our family over the years has been its mentor program. When we say mentor, we plainly mean Derrick. This relationship has proved to be a huge success. Derrick gives Pete the courage he needs to tackle every issues.
Recently, the service that we have mostly appreciated, and there have been many throughout the years that we have been involved with CASSP, is the "Express Yourself" program. We could not say enough on how we believe this program has benefited Pete. Over the past year, Pete has grown from relying on Derrick to get through the practice sessions, to finally having the confidence to go it alone. The night of the show was one of the proudest moments in our son's life. He stood on stage with over 3000 guests in the audience and performed like a star. He would have never accomplished this amazing task without the assistance of his mentor Derrick and the CASSP program.
Many thanks to CASSP and to everyone at Family Continuity, for your help these past years. We look forward to many more.
Bill, Donna, Jack, and most of all Pete....
Real Stories aren't just about how Family Continuity changes the lives of its families,......Our work almost always changes us as well, as you will see in this recent letter from one of our staff...
I have had the pleasure of providing In-Home therapy to Bobby J. and his family for the past year. Bobby lives at home with his mother, Janet, who is a single parent. In addition to caring for Bobby, Janet is challenged with her own serious medical problems. This has never stopped her from being a steadfast, tireless advocate for her son since his birth. From birth, Bobby has had a very difficult life. He was born prematurely, in the sixth month of pregnancy, and spent the first four months of his life in the ICU. Included in numerous complications of his premature birth, he was born with detached retinas and had to have eye surgery as a newborn. He has also experienced significant developmental delays and has been diagnosed with mild mental retardation. He needs substantial support in order to manage academic tasks and has difficulty functioning in a mainstream classroom.
Bobby also has significant social impairments as a result of his inability to interact appropriately and form relationships with peers or adults, leaving him well behind his peers in his emotional development. Consequently, Bobby has often been bullied by peers, abused and exploited by others, as well as having been exposed to severe domestic violence as a child. He struggles with symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Despite all of the above, Bobby is a very friendly, kind young man. He has a great sense of humor and an incredibly positive outlook on life. He loves and cares deeply for his family members and is truly a joy to be around. Bobby has two older siblings who are both musically gifted. He is very proud of them and strives to achieve the same level of proficiency they both enjoy. He is passionate and quite skilled in writing and recording his own music. He spends endless amount of hours teaching himself how to record and mix music on the computer. It appears, like his siblings, Bobby is naturally gifted in the area of music, which is significant because it is one area of his life where he can achieve success and feel good about himself. Music is an excellent way for Bobby to express his feelings, which at times might be difficult for him to verbalize. His mother has shared Bobby's lyrics with me, providing an otherwise, untold story.
Like most adolescents, Bobby longs to have friends to spend time with after school and on the weekends. Music is an area where he is finally able to connect with his peers. They admire his recording skills.
An inadequate computer and software have limited Bobby's music recording and mixing ability. He has had the opportunity to experiment with other people's Mac Book computers using Garage Band, which is a superior software program, used to record and mix music. Although owning a Mac Book has been a dream of Bobby's for quite some time, his family struggles financially and has not had the means to purchase a Mac Book computer. What a difference it would make in the quality of his life if he were able to make music the way he desires. Nothing makes him happier and gives him a greater sense of self-worth.
On Bobby's behalf, I ask that you give every consideration to providing him with a Mac Book and therefore enabling this exceptional young man in his pursuit of musical creation and self expression. Furthermore, your gift will provide an opportunity for Bobby to maximize his potential and bring joy to a life that has been rife with struggle.
Bonnie L. M.S., LMHC
Like many Family Continuity staff, Bonnie's commitment doesn't end when the therapy session is over. Becoming involved in the lives of others brings with it an opportunity to help in many unexpected ways that offer even greater rewards to the family and to the staff person.
PS, Bonnie's letter helped Bobby get the MacBook, and he's writing his music today.
Things don't get bad overnight, and unfortunately, they don't get better overnight either, as Chantelle will tell you.
"The past four years of my life have been very difficult and interesting. When I was growing up I thought that no one loved me in my family so I went to look for friends that I thought would love me like I was family. I hated when anyone told me what to do so I always blew people off. I started to run away from home and be disrespectful to my mother and not follow her house rules. My first day of high school I met with my friend and we thought it would be cool so I skipped my first day of high school. Later on in the school year I would skip school probably three times a week. My mother got sick of my actions and filed a CHINS but I still didn't listen. I was placed into detention at least four to five times. The judge also got sick of seeing me and called DSS. For the next 8 months I lived in a trailer with a foster mother and her daughter. I went to school, came home and stayed in my room. I had to go to a new high school. The kids were so different from me, I felt like I didn't belong there. During that summer I got to go home. I was excited. I behaved for a few months and then it started to go downhill again. I met this boy I was crazy about him. I never wanted to go home but he always made me go. But, also that same summer I started hanging out with some of my old friends.
Here's where I hit bottom. One day I had $70 and I wanted to buy a half of Mary Jane nut. I was with my sister and two friends. We smoked while my sister drank. After we were done I was really sick, so I went outside to get some fresh air. Something was very wrong. I couldn't feel my face or my body. My friend had to carry me to her house, and the whole way there I am thinking that I am just going to die. I could feel my body getting really cold and weak and my heart slowing down. My sister didn't want to call my mother because she didn't want to get into trouble. But my friend's mom got home and saw me. She called my mom in like 2 seconds. My mom got there and called an ambulance and they rushed me to the hospital. I knew deep down I would have died if they never called my mom. I remember thinking that tonight is going to be the last day I live on this earth without having the chance to say how much I love my mom. After, I had a lot of time to think about things since I couldn't go anywhere. I knew from the start when I was almost dead that I had to find new friends because a real friend cares about you when you get hurt; they will call your parents. My own sister didn't call my mother. They were just going to let me die just to save their own butts.
Because of my actions, the judge committed me to DYS and I went into detention. I never thought I was going to get out of that place. I was incarcerated for five months. I told myself when I get out don't worry about friends, worry about yourself for now and when I am ready to have friends that's when I can work on it. I also told myself I am going back to school to make something of myself. I wanted to be only one in my family to graduate high school and accomplish many goals in my life. I got to go home and show my mother I can be responsible and loyal and follow her rules.
A month after I got out I was reunited with my boyfriend. We were still crazy about each other. Two months after I got out I found out I was PREGNANT! I didn't know what I was going to do with my life. I was so scared and I had no support system. Everyone was very disappointed and upset at us. But I still kept my head up high, I didn't care what anyone said. I came back to school in September. Nine months later I had a beautiful baby girl, named Victoria.
Here's where things changed. This is when I started working with Family Continuity and met my counselor, Amy, and we started working things out. During my pregnancy I didn't think it was going to be hard, having a baby so young and it didn't hit me until she came out and they put her on my stomach. I thought it was going to be like a piece of cake. Absolutely not!!! It is so hard to be a teen parent. Once I saw her in the hospital I knew I had a lot of responsibilities and I couldn't act like a child anymore. I realized I couldn't act out and leave my baby home by herself. It was so weird that this little baby is going to be a part of my life and I have to support her for the next 18 years of her life. She is my first priority before anyone. I also realized I gave up my life like no hanging with my friends on a Friday night, leaving when I want to. I have a new life, a life that is going to motivate me to do good and stay out of trouble. Once in a while I tell my teacher Mr. B that I am a child at school but a mother at home.
Now I'm a senior!!!! My senior year is so special to me because no one in my family thought I was going to make it, especially because I had a baby at the age of 16 years old. To be honest I had doubts that I was not going to make it, but as long as you put your mind to it you can do anything you want. I am so proud of myself I made it this far. I am going to grow up and be successful so I can give my child everything that I didn't have. I also wanted to graduate so I can be a great role model for my child and I can be the person that taught her everything.
When she turned 18 in February of this year, Chantelle signed on voluntarily with DYS in large part because she wanted to make sure she could continue to work with Amy because of the progress she has made while working with Amy and feels she needs the continued support.
Amy sees it like this:
"I've seen great progress in Chantelle working on her relationship with her mother and how to improve her communication skills. When she became pregnant she realized she wanted to be a different parent than her mother had been and recognized that part of her ability to be successful would depend on changing her relationship with her mother as well as working on the issues she struggles with. She has graduated high school, is looking at colleges, and is living with her boyfriend and her daughter in her own apartment. She works and has a budget that she works very hard to stick to and is very proud of her growth and ability to be independent. Her goals now are around self-esteem, parenting, transition to adulthood, and family communication. Its been over two years since she has abused substances or violated probation."
Here's how Chantelle now sees it
. "From my experience I learned not to be a follower but to be a leader, don't do things just because you want to look cool, looking cool is not going to get you nowhere. So be yourself, put your education before parties. Put your families before anything"
The fact is that most people with mental health issues get better, and live normal lives, with help and support. But as they say, one step at a time... Following is a letter received at Family Continuity's Plymouth Mental Health Clinic.
I'm so much happier now, though it hasn't always been that way. It was a long slow road to turn my life around. Yet a road I'm very glad I traveled.
When I came out of the state hospital I was still very angry, angry at the world and everyone in it. I was placed in a residential program and got a new therapist. The residential was a bad placement but the therapist was the best one I've ever had. She always believed in me. I can tell you that makes a big difference ‘cause it's really hard to believe in yourself when no one else does. It was a long slow road. I was on a path of self-destruction with multiple hospitalizations. I started attending a support group. I eventually graduated that group and to this day still use what I learned.
After getting my own apartment and getting the right medication combination, I slowly gained progress. My relationship with my family started getting better. I was able to finally get my license and get a job. I've now held this job for 5 years. I learned to stand up for myself when I felt like I needed to. I was able to start to build my self-esteem up enough to start believing in myself.
Now many years later my life doesn't revolve around mental health so much. My family trusts that I can handle more. I'm allowed to babysit my niece and nephew. I can finally plan things in my life whereas before who knew if I'd be in the hospital. All in all I live a pretty normal life. I still have my ups and downs and bad days but I'm better able to cope with them.
I honestly believe it started with my wonderful therapist believing in me until I had enough belief in myself.