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Donelyn’s Story

donelynIn 2002 our 14 year old daughter’s anxiety and struggle with self-confidence masked an accelerating descent into depression. By 16 her behavior had become increasingly self-destructive, self-harming, dangerous and life-threatening.  Our hearts broke when we had to admit that we could no longer keep her safe—we were out of strategies and needed to make a major intervention to keep her alive

Finding a safe place for her introduced us to a world of education consultants, wilderness programs and residential treatment centers. Her intervention came when we placed her in a therapeutic wilderness program followed by a placement in a therapeutic residential treatment center. For two years all three of us put our hearts and souls to the tasks of confronting our demons and restoring our family. It was a steep learning curve and a huge financial commitment. We were blessed to have the financial, relational and emotional resources and support to get her and our family help, but that is far from the case for many families.

I first met John Reuben, the founder of SavingTeens, when he and I served together on the Alumni Committee of the National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs. I was thrilled and grateful to discover an organization that worked in close collaboration with the therapeutic community to help provide financial and other support to families of teens in crisis. . John’s passion and determination for this work came out of his own experience with a troubled child. We have supported SavingTeens for several years and continue to be thankful that there is a place dedicated to this work. The SavingTeens 5k is yet another way for us to stay involved and supportive.

Our daughter is now 27.  She is alive and vertical and working on restoring relationships; finding meaningful, creative work; and experiencing an appreciation for life.  Each of us have received the gifts of life and hope.  We want others to receive those gifts as well.

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