Education Director Denise Achee: Hi Alex. You’re really excited today, aren’t you?
Alexandra E: Hi! Yeah.
DA: This is it. This is the last day. Thank you so much for agreeing to share your testimonial with us. It’s really important to get the word out to other kids like yourself. Can you share with us what brought you here?
AE: I had a really bad relationship with my mother and the rest of my family and I started doing pills and drinking at parties and it got really bad, so…
DA: Did you have an intervention before you came here?
AE: My parents called the police and told them to search my room and they found needles and pills so deputies picked me up and took me to an ACT [Alcohol and Controlled Substances Treatment] center and Karen and Dr. Hughes came and picked me up and told me I was going to be here for two months.
DA: How did you feel on that day?
AE: I was debating hitting Karen in the head with a lamp and running away but I didn’t.
DA: [Laughs] Thank God right?! Because we like Karen. You like Karen now right?
AE: More than that day.
DA: Yeah and then so you got here. How was it when you arrived? What were you expecting or not expecting?
AE: I wasn’t expecting…they told me it would be like a farm almost, the way they described it and I don’t want to live on a ranch for months so I was really happy when I came here and …
DA: Realized it wasn’t a farm and you wouldn’t have to be growing your own vegetables.
AE: Yeah or petting horses and the place I came from…the staff was illiterate. One kid had tuberculosis and had to leave and another girl had lice. We couldn’t go to the bathroom alone. I had to wear a uniform and those prison shoes that are like cardboard sandals. This was a really nice change.
DA: This was kind of like a vacation, like you’re going to camp or something.
AE: Yeah! We can go to the beach. At the other place there were no windows. I hadn’t looked outside for five days.
DA: Oh wow.
AE: Yeah and now I’m in Florida and I can go to the beach. It’s beautiful.
DA: How did your therapy go here?
AE: Lorraine is really good. I hate therapy; I don’t believe it helps people so they have to be pretty good just to keep me in that chair for an hour and to actually get me to listen to them. I never walked out. Lorraine is really good.
DA: Good! How’s your relationship going with your family now?
AE: It’s a lot better. It’s better.
DA: It’s a work in progress?
AE: Well yeah but you can’t keep me here forever so they have to let me deal with it.
DA: [laughs] But it is better? You feel it is better?
DA: What happened to your education while you were here?
AE: I was falling behind in school. A lot of the classes I just slept through during the year. So I came here and the teachers worked through it with me and they were a lot nicer than my teachers at home. Especially Erika [a teacher at Inspirations].
DA: I know you love Erika, she’s a great teacher.
DA: You are a very high academic and we were very, very impressed with your academic skills and your determination and the discipline you had. We proctored your exams for you as well.
AE: Yeah I had all my midterms here.
DA: All your midterms came here and we proctored them and you did quite well as I recall.
AE: I hope so.
DA: Yeah I think you have done very well. So what are your plans for when you go home?
AE: I’m going to chew lots of gum and go outside and do all the things that I couldn’t do here.
DA: Are you going back to school? Back to your home school?
DA: How does that feel?
AE: It’s great because they were going to switch schools but I convinced them to let me go back to my school so hopefully I can get my class ring from the school I went to [since] my freshmen year.
DA: Aw that’s great. Remember: what do we like from you when you graduate? We like to have a picture! [laughs]
AE: Yeah, I’ll send you one.
DA: Yes we would love to have a picture from you. Well thank you so much! We’re extremely proud of you and know that we will be here as a support system for you when you leave as well. I know you have a great relationship with Erika as well as your therapist and we all like to hear how you’re doing. We get very close to you and you become like family to us. We miss you and we like to hear news when you get home. So please keep in touch. Best of luck!
AE: Thank you.