When Rachel was just three years old, she and her siblings were taken from their homes and separated after experiencing abuse from a family member. They were each placed into separate foster homes and it was then that Rachel was taken to The Bridge to receive much-needed therapy to overcome the trauma she had faced in her childhood. The Bridge provided a safe place for Rachel to express herself and helped her navigate through the drastic changes in her young life. The Bridge also helped advocate to keep Rachel and her siblings connected and in communication with one another and they helped promote visitation on the weekends, even though they were placed in different foster families.
Rachel met with her therapist at The Bridge weekly until 8th grade – more than 10 years. Throughout those years, The Bridge was a place for her to work through her emotions in a “safe” space. She recalls one of her favorite Bridge memories when her therapist greeted her with a red wagon she would bring to the toy closet. At the time she was about six or seven and her sessions were play therapy – a psychotherapeutic approach primarily used to help children ages 3 to 12 freely express repressed thoughts and emotions through play. “I was able to pick out whatever I wanted to play with that day and piled so many toys into the wagon,” Rachel remembers. “For a young child, it was such a memorable experience!”
As Rachel matured, her memories from The Bridge continued to remain with her. During her junior and senior year in high school as she was deciding on a profession in which to pursue, she knew in her heart that pursuing a career as a social worker was right for her. “After being a client at The Bridge for many years, I knew that I wanted to be able to provide the same services to kids who had experienced similar situations to my own,” Rachel says. She went on to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Sociology in 2019 and is currently planning on pursuing her master’s degree in social work.
In the meantime, to gain experience working with at-risk youth, Rachel decided last summer to become a mentor in The Bridge’s Youth Advocacy Program. Although the activities have been altered due to COVID-19, she has already had a very rewarding experience working with the mentees. “I’ve only met with them twice and can already see bonds forming. This program is so valuable because it is something that kids really need. It provides a safe and fun environment for the kids to thrive in, which they may not have in their own homes.”
Rachel’s journey is truly a full circle experience. Without the counseling she received at The Bridge she knows that her path would be quite different, and she cannot wait to become a social worker and provide care for kids and teens like her Bridge therapist did for her.
If you would like to help kids achieve social and emotional health like those in Rachel’s situation, please consider donating today.
The client stories shared on our blog are based on real scenarios, but names and identifying details have been changed or removed.