The need for residential treatment can make me angry at modern culture. In fact, I occasionally wish that my job (or rather the need for my job), didn’t exist. As the Admissions Director at Chrysalis I am regularly learning about families who are considering out of home treatment for their daughter. After working as a wilderness therapy field instructor and now at Chrysalis for over four years, I have come to realize the imperative need for a school like Chrysalis. Thankfully I was recently and tangibly reminded of this need.
This spring I was traveling to my home state of Illinois and arranged to have dinner with a Chrysalis alumna. We met at a local restaurant in her hometown where she arrived with wet hair, having just rushed from track practice. This student was not a big runner prior to Chrysalis, but she learned to enjoy running, and she competed in several road races while at Chrysalis. Now she is competing for her high school team; she has found a positive identity in being a high school athlete, a runner. Our dinner conversation was vibrant – full of laughter, stories, and updating each other on life in Montana and life in Illinois. She still has to navigate the typical challenges that high school throws one’s way, but she is succeeding, and she has hope for her future. She is preparing for college and is excited for the years ahead.
Dinner with this alumna was just what I needed during a time when I was asking yet again, “Why is out of home treatment necessary?” Do I wish that residential treatment wasn’t necessary? Absolutely. The reality is that sometimes it is, and we have the opportunity to literally transform lives. And every day, whether it’s work related or not, we have the opportunity to remind people that they matter and they have a future.