b'BUILDING AKatie came to Riverside Life Skills as a youngbegan to make friends, build relationships, teen after attending a hospital and partial-dayand improve her confidence along the way.FOUNDATIONprogram, needing support for her mentalAs she prepared to move on from Life Skills, health challenges and low self-esteem. SheRiverside staff together with Katie and her FOR THE FUTURE struggled academically and socially becausefamily conferred with the public school system of her emotional difficulties, and, adding toand decided on Riverside School in Milford her distress, she was often bullied at schoolfor her continuing high school education and because of her differences. emotional support.Riverside clinician Sam got her involved rightRiverside School staff encouraged Katie toaway in individual therapy, and together theyexplore activities that interested her, helping identified Katies personal goals: She wantedher plan and study for her drivers permit, to build her academic and interpersonal skillsSATs, and college applications. With a growingso she could doand feelbetter at school,sense of independence, Katie organizedas well as boost her self-confidence so sheseveral day-long field trips for Riverside School could join in community activities. Connectingstudents to the farm where she workedwith peers through group therapy, Katie part-time, leading tours and sharing her began to gain confidence in social knowledge of animal care and farm life.interactions. Throughout, her parents were regularly briefed on her goals and copingAnd today, accepted at all nine of theKatie, right, celebrates her graduation from Riverside School with clinician Sam. strategies so they could support her.Withuniversities where she applied, this young newfound acceptance and support, Katie woman who once thought college was unattainable attends Wheaton College, with a major in psychology and a minor in music. Riverside helped me to recognize my worth and my potential,She sings in an a cappella group and plans to and to feel not just cared about, but respected. pursue a career where she can help people with mental health and well-beingperhaps through outpatient music therapy.Riverside Life Skills Centers are supportive, therapeutic day programs for adolescents who are experiencing significant mental illness and disruptions in their 6 home, school, or community. Riverside School offers a safe, warm, and welcoming chapter 766-approved education for students in grades 6-12 who have significant emotional difficulties and/or a psychiatric diagnosis.'