As a New Year approaches, we plan for change. We establish goals and resolutions to greet the New Year with open arms. For Maggie*, the new year of change began in November when she started to pack her belongings in preparation to move out of the Girls Group Home (GGH) at Cunningham Children’s Home.
In her 3+ years at Cunningham, Maggie made significant progress in her treatment goals and she was now ready to move on to the next phase of residential care in her journey to healing and hope.
"When Maggie first transitioned to GGH, she was like a deer in headlights," Shacairy, the Milieu Coordinator, said. "She had to find a sense of safety and I believe we helped her develop that."
Maggie came from a difficult background and her sense of trust had been broken by many individuals.
"I was really angry when I first came here," she said. "I was getting into fights and screaming at staff. But now, I am no longer angry."
At Cunningham, Maggie learned coping skills that help her deal with her anger. She earned an education she is proud of and flourished with a community of support
"The staff became my support system and my experiences at Cunningham made me a better person," Maggie said. "They helped me to get ready, taught me right from wrong, how to control my anger, coping skills and what I really like the most . . . how to crochet."
Maggie embraced this love for crocheting and it helps her to calm down when she is angry. She has a natural talent and has crocheted a variety of items, but creating blankets of all sizes are her favorite.
Her room at GGH had a designated corner with a hamper full of yarn and needles.
"I have even taught other residents and staff how to crotchet!" she said beaming with pride about her hobby. "All my crocheting stuff is coming with me…well I might leave some for the other girls [at GGH]."
Maggie is excited and anxious for the year ahead, as she will soon move downstate to an Independent Living program and enroll in cosmetology school. It is a bittersweet time for her. She is proud of how far she’s come and excited for what is next, but also sad to be leaving Cunningham.
"Change is always difficult," Shacairy said. "There are a lot of mixed emotions right now, for all of us. Maggie is known for asking everyone who enters GGH for a hug and she gives fun nicknames to the staff. I will miss that."
Your supports helps young people like Maggie find new hobbies as they heal, learn and grow. Please go to our website and make a gift by 11:59 pm CST tonight to be acknowledged in the 2019 tax year. Your generous support impacts the future of the more than 731 youth, adults and families served by Cunningham through residential treatment and community services each year.
*Our story is real but name has been changed and photos chosen to protect the privacy of our youth.