I appreciate the positive feedback I have gotten from some current and former parents of Calo students. That feedback has centered around posts on this blog highlighting successes of former students. When I get such reports of success from parents, and students themselves, it is a job-satisfaction-enhancer. Our work at Calo can be quite difficult at times and to hear positive comments can make the difficult times well worth it. With that in mind, I have another email I want to post here that came in yesterday. The mother of a former student sent it in, and I have changed names only to protect confidentiality. This young lady, Sharon I will call her, had a difficult transition home and things had been very emotional and rough for three weeks. Sharon parted the family home for a few days and then returned. Sharon and the family had some trust to rebuild. They were able to do that work and proceed with plans for Sharon to enter college. That background will probably help make this post make sense. Here is the email:
I just wanted you to know that Sharon went to her first day of college and loved it. She aced the class and got a congratulations from the teacher afterward for her participation!
Of course, for the last three weeks her anxiety and her behavior had almost derailed everything we learned and achieved together at Calo. It has been really awful, to tell the truth. Not "it", but "she". And she had permission to get a job instead. Until she got into the car today I did not know if she would go. But the dogs and I escorted her down the street and over to her school (5 minutes) and 90 minutes later came a triumphant phone call. Transitions are hard, we knew this, but this one was one of the worst. But she is there, now psyched, and we expect her to do well. Her experience with Calo’S dogs created a serious interest in Veterinary Technology as well as teaching history. Who knew.
One more thing. Her boyfriend has been very supportive of her and has really helped her to remain on track with school! He was a calm voice all month long while she was totally off kilter especially the last two weeks. You never know how things are going to turn out.
We know she owes her success today, as hard as it came, to Calo and what she found there. She gets it too, and has also found a great therapist, and she is committed to that as well.
Take care, Julie
A few weeks earlier I got an email from Landon, our Clinical Director. He had just gotten off the phone with a different student who has been home for just over one year. She wanted to say hello. She is doing very well. Landon then sent out an email to all of us working at Calo. I have included it below with names changed:
Many of you who have been employed for at least a year will remember a student who aged out of Calo last July, Lori T. Lori telephoned Calo today, as she has done a handful of times in the past 12 months, and we chatted for a bit. I am pleased to report that Lori is doing very well. She has held down a steady job working with kids and has strong goals and aspirations in her life. She sounded genuinely positive and happystill a touch awkward but you can tell she has really made strides in her interactions and relationships. Her primary purpose for calling was out of concern for friends and former students and how she can help outanother great sign.
I asked Lori about Diva (her adopted Calo dog) and she said she is doing great but likes to eat too much and has gained some weight so Lori is going to exercise her more. Lori asked about Calo, students, changes and about many of you staff and how you are doing. She could not believe the growth we have experienced recently and shared she thinks about Calo all of the time. She even asked if I kept a picture she made me before she left. You can tell Calo is still a big part of her life. Lori closed our conversation by asking that I tell everyone hello for her and please tell them thanks cause I dont think I did that enough.
Those of you wondering if you are making a difference may not realize it on a daily or even monthly basis but the seeds you are planting truly take root in their own due time. Thank you so much for your efforts to bless lives!
Ken writing now–I really miss Lori and am so glad to hear how well she is doing. She struggled mightily when she first got to Calo. Eye contact was very poor. Touch in an safe manner was not possible for her. I couldn’t even get her to give me a high five for a long time. She changed all of that in a most impressive way and now she is in an emotional space where she reaches out to friends spontaneously and appropriately. She smiles often and interacts well with those around her. She is not afraid of safe physical contact like shaking hands or a friendly touch on the shoulder. Given a safe environment with intensive therapeutic support and a solid clinical model and our students make massive changes. I love my job.