Posted on September 14, 2015
Mad. Mad at her parents. Mad at the world. This is how Candie describes herself before coming to live at the Florida United Methodist Children’s Home. Getting into trouble at home and at school, seeking out ways to provoke her parents and make them angry. By middle school Candie had given up on caring about trying to change. Candie’s parents tried different approaches with Candie, including bringing a behavioral therapist in the home, but when interventions in the home were not helping, Candie’s parents reached out to the Florida United Methodist Children’s Home.
Candie remembers her first day at FUMCH. She describes actually being excited. She recognized she was not happy and was ready for something different. Staff met with her and talked with her about life at FUMCH. She was given a tour of the campus and introduced to her house parents and shown her new home on campus.
While Candie was looking forward to a fresh start, it took time to start adjusting to her new environment. Change takes time and effort. She wasn’t use to the structure and still needed to learn how to process her emotions. She started meeting with a therapist and describes that over time, she has learned how to start regulating her emotions. One tool Candie uses frequently to help with her emotions is music. She feels music has a big influence on her. She describes how “sad songs make her sad and happy songs make her happy”. When she’s feeling mad or upset, she takes some time to turn on her happy music and that helps her get into a more positive emotional state.
The on-campus school has been big parts of helping Candie learn new skills as well. She knows the teachers are personally invested in her success and she feels the Social Emotional Learning model used in the school equips her to handle her frustration and anger better. Initially, she would snap at peers and teachers, lashing out when frustrated. But instead of kicking her out of class, the teachers work with Candie on teaching her skills to handle conflict better. She now knows how to reflect on the conflict, identify weaknesses in how she may have handled it and identify ways to handle situations better in the next time around. With these new skills, Candie can focus on her academics instead of getting off track by frustrations that come up in the classroom. She is working hard and is now on the A/B Honor Roll.
Throughout all of this, the biggest theme that runs throughout Candie’s story when she talks about what has made the biggest impact in her life during her time at FUMCH is her relationships with the staff. She shares about all the help the therapists have been for her, the love and support of her house parents, the teachers who challenge her to be better, and how important it was to have someone like her mentor to spend time with her and be proud of her accomplishments. These relationships have all shaped Candie into the young woman she is today. Now the words Candie uses to describe herself are happy, ecstatic and looking at the bright side of life instead of the down side. She feels she has a better awareness of herself and her emotions and those around her. She enjoys reaching out to those around her now. She spent time over the summer volunteering at an art camp for kids and now volunteers at a local resale shop.
Candie will be turning 18 soon, which means it will soon be time to start transitioning into adulthood and Candie has big plans. She is taking an extra class at school to make sure she graduates on time and then plans on joining the military and going to college. She wants to study nursing and help others. She would love the opportunity to use her nursing skills to help people in third world countries. She knows she’s getting ready to face a lot of changes and that can be a bit daunting at times, but she’s excited for this next chapter in her life as a happier and healthier Candie.