A letter from Sarah, a former Rice Child & Family Center client, to Rice staff
Today is Child Welfare Worker Recognition Day! We’re celebrating by sharing the stories of our staff who are the link to building brighter futures for children, youth and families. A couple of years ago, we received a letter from Sarah, a former resident at the Rice Child & Family Center. The letter, addressed to Sarah’s team of therapists, social workers and counselors, is a testament to the dedicated staff who provide youth in care with a temporary home in a therapeutic setting.
I have been working hard since I came to the Rice Center, and I think I’m ready to move on to independence. I came to Rice because I was having problems at school and at home. When I lived at home, I acted up to the point that the police were called to my house to restrain me. I was hospitalized many times for trying to hurt myself. I tried to choke myself and cut my arms with a knife. I also had outbursts, and did things without thinking—I knocked things over, hit my mom, and hurt my brother. I was really mad and sad inside without knowing why.
When I first arrived at Rice, I was scared and sad because I wanted to be at home with my parents. I had little self-confidence. My situation seemed hopeless, and I thought I would never be able to leave. But it wasn’t long before I started to make progress. I realized that I was responsible for my own fate, and that if I was the one who got myself here, then I was going to have to get myself out.
I began to feel more positive, because I was beginning to do well in the program. The staff helped me a lot along the way. They always had time to talk to me, and I felt comfortable enough to talk with them about anything. They taught me the ropes and they set expectations for me. They also took the time to hang out with me and play basketball. My counselors helped me to think about my behavior in groups. My therapist talks with me and helps me with my problems and family relationships. He’s fantastic and funny. The counselors are helpful and available when I need their help.
I’ve learned how to focus more in school. I now understand that despite my learning disability, I am still able to accomplish my work with a little extra help. I don’t get mad anymore when some of the kids make fun of me, because I have a learning disability. I just tell them that I’m able to do a lot more than I used to. I have learned not to let my peers upset me. I now ignore negative behavior, and am working on getting along with others.
My relationship with my family has continued to be rocky at times. When I first came to Rice, I couldn’t wait for my next visit home to see my family. The visits usually went well, but sometimes, I couldn’t get along with my parents and brothers. I’ve come to realize that sometimes I can be selfish and stubborn. I now understand that this is a problem. My counselor has helped me learn to think before I react. I was able to go home for two weeks over Christmas, and I got along very well. When problems came up, I was able to call my counselors and get advice.
I have come a long way, and I’ve been through tough times. I concentrate on expressing my feelings to others, being a role model to my peers, and standing up for myself. I know I still have a lot to workon, but I don’t feel as sad as I used to. Things don’t seem hopeless anymore. I now feel more confident, happier, and better able to control myself.
We hope you’ll take a moment to watch this video, which highlights the impact made on the boys and girls, like Sarah, served at the Rice Center.