You gave Chelsea a safe, caring adult presence that changed her life.
When we first met her two years ago, Chelsea (name changed for her privacy) says she was “living a shell of a life” as a result of multiple traumatic experiences, including emotional and sexual abuse. “I didn’t have a positive relationship with anyone in my family, and I struggled with my self-esteem.”
While in high school, Chelsea was the only adult financially supporting her household, working at a restaurant late at night after a full day of classes. Chelsea felt responsible for the needs of the adults around her who should have been caring for her.
Chelsea began to meet for therapy with Rachel Smith through KyUMH’s community-based services. KyUMH partners with school districts to provide mental health counseling and case management for youth and their families. KyUMH's innovative programs are designed to eliminate barriers to treatment and meet families where they are. That is how we met Chelsea.
Rachel remembers Chelsea only felt comfortable talking about herself for just a few minutes, as she had learned to ignore her own well-being.
Over time, Chelsea learned to reflect on what she had gone through and name her emotions. She learned that what she had experienced wasn't normal, and there was help for her.
Chelsea's case manager, Rhonda McLeod, recognized the change in her. “She can advocate for herself now. She’s very articulate with a kind and loving heart. She’s going to do so well in life.”
Rachel says, “The key for Chelsea was a consistent, trustworthy adult that showed up for her. She had never known a kind adult who wasn’t looking for something from her.”
One of Chelsea’s favorite memories while working with KyUMH was going to the Cheesecake Factory to celebrate her high school graduation—an accomplishment she had never considered possible before meeting us. Rhonda says, “She was just beaming. She could not believe we were doing this for her.” Chelsea says, “I still think about that cheesecake every day!”
Chelsea is currently living on her own and attending community college. She is pursuing a degree in social work. Her goal for her future is to finish college and “to help people.”