In the spirit of this holiday season, I'd like to share a heart-warming story with you about one of the inspiring kids we serve at the Phoenix Center.
Katie was 10 years old when she was referred by CASA to our therapeutic camp program, Camp Phoenix. Over the next three years, she returned to camp three more summers and began taking advantage of all of our therapy services - individual and group therapy. Katie worked hard during the school years to process her history of abuse and trauma since early childhood. When the court system appointed Katie to another therapist, she asked to come to the Phoenix Center because she feels safe and comfortable here.
Our long term relationship, over the past three years, and the trust that has been developed is critical for a child who has survived broken trust and unimaginable abuse and trauma. However, Katie is not defined by her past. Her dream is to become a lawyer who helps kids in the CPS system. She wants to transform her experience of being a victim to becoming a survivor and child advocate who helps kids who are struggling as she has struggled. I know she can reach this dream, too. She is an extraordinarily resilient, intelligent, articulate and inspiring teen. She inspires me.
It only takes one caring, committed adult to change the course of a child's life trajectory, and the Phoenix Center and Camp Phoenix is full of such wonderful people. Our plan is to mentor Katie all the way through high school. We want to help and support her as she works to heal and empower herself, eventually graduating from high school and working toward her dreams.
Since I began this work twelve years ago, I have met many children with extraordinary talents and resiliency, and Katie is a shining star. She began her journey of healing with us when she was only 10 years old, unsure that life could be anything but pain. Three years later, when she shares her future plans, I can hear that she believes in the power of her dreams too.
Wishing you and your family the holiday magic of believing,
Sarah Rosen Garrett, LMSW
Phoenix Center / Camp Phoenix