Stories of Hope is an ongoing series from Edgewood highlighting our work and the lives changed for those young people able to engage with our services.
Hiding beneath a heavy black sweatshirt, the hood pulled tightly over her head, Ana arrived for her first day at Edgewood Non-Public School. At just 15 years old, she seemed lost. She had failed at her last two schools, and had withdrawn deeper and deeper into isolation. By coming to Edgewood she was able to benefit from academic support, therapy sessions, and small classroom sizes. The stability and structure that was lacking at her previous schools and what she needed to succeed on a daily basis.
After several months attending Edgewood Non-Public School, Ana’s confidence soared. Relationships grew stronger and her fears and anxieties were contained. Edgewood staff and teachers listened to her every word, and tried to understand her silence. They surrounded her with a safe environment filled with warmth, care, and trustworthy people waiting for her to reach out.
Now in the company of nurturing staff, Ana took the chance to reveal herself. She started to express her feelings–what she liked and disliked. She flourished under this attention. The girl who had been a silent bundle under a sweatshirt was making jokes, highlighting her hair, and discovering a talent for poetry.
Every year Edgewood celebrates its children and youth at Achievement Day. At Achievement Day, Ana read two of her favorite poems in front of an audience of over 100 people. She delivered her two pieces with sharp articulation and perfect pacing. She was rewarded when the audience leapt to their feet with applause. Ana exited the stage proud and filled with triumph that she was able to share her love, emotion, and art. Ana left Edgewood with the tools to succeed. Finally, she has hope.
*indicates name has been changed