SAM: I went to boarding school a few months into my freshman year of high school, 2011. I was hurting more than I was helping…not only me, but my family as well.
I grew up in a beautiful part of Detroit, Michigan with my adoptive mother, father, and brother. My parents and I had many conversations about how my behavior had been affecting them, emotionally, physically, and financially, but I refused to listen. My behavior also affected my younger brother, as he looked up to me. He followed in my footprints of wrong behavior while I was still living at home and continued after I went to boarding school. Medication, individual therapy, family therapy, and quite a lot of money later my parents were desperate and looking to help me in any way they could and thought a “home away from home” could be the best solution.
I went to a place where there were other teens dealing with similar situations that I was dealing with. The staff became my family and the students became my brothers and sisters. Boarding school incorporated a way of living that included a sense of belonging, which as an adopted child, I truly lacked.
Of course, at the time I would have never admitted to having a problem, needing help, that going away to a school versus more endless therapy was a better option, but now I couldn’t stress enough how much it helped me. Just because you have to leave, doesn’t mean you’re leaving forever.
VANESSA: When I first found out that my boarding school was closing I was upset, nervous and extremely unhappy. I had so many thoughts running through my head at that time……like why in the heck is it shutting down and what am I going to do when I go home? I was also really upset because I was hoping to stay until graduation.
When I found out I was going home, I was happy that I was going to see my mom but, I was also very concerned as to where I was going to go to school. I knew i didn’t want to go to public school. Also, I was very afraid I was going to fall backwards and go back to my old ways. However, luckily enough, we found the local alternative high school in my town, MTA. MTAl teaches students with disabilities life skills, social skills, and vocational skills. I learned skills such as how to rent an apartment, budgeting my money and banking skills.
With my mother’s support and the support of the MTA’s staff I was able to work through all the difficulties associated with the transition back to home. I didn’t go back to my old ways. Instead, I have been able to retain and apply all of the skills I learned at therapeutic boarding school and further build on them in my new life.