My name is Chayde, and I’m in the 9th grade. Before Cookson Hills, I was always getting into all sorts of trouble. I hung out with the wrong crowd and I was constantly getting bullied. It was causing me to have breakdowns every few hours and sometimes every few minutes. I always felt like I hadn’t lived up to everyone’s expectations and I wasn’t what I could be.
I was going to a therapist who works with kids who have trauma and she was helping me process my life. It wasn’t really helping. So she started looking around for me and eventually found Cookson Hills. She sent the link to my grandma, and she and I started looking into it. I watched all the videos on the webpage and read everything. I decided this may be a place that would help me.
I’ve been here for a year and about three months. The first day I got here, I absolutely hated it. I remember when my grandparents dropped me off and I unpacked all my stuff. My first thought was, “Why did I do this? Why did I make this decision to come here?” and then my house-dad ended up talking me into going outside and try to make some friends. Within the first five minutes that I’d stepped outside, everyone just swarmed me. Everyone was just so friendly and upbeat, and then I thought, “Maybe I judged this place too quickly.”
It made me feel happy that I could be accepted for who I was. Also, the kids and some of the staff here at Cookson Hills have gone through the same stuff as me. Some of them have stories that are kind of similar to mine. It is going great right now. I’m loving the family that I’m with and all my house siblings. To me, being a part of the family is having stable parents who will be there to support you through both good and bad times. Also, having siblings who are there for you. No matter how much you fight and maybe even tell them you hate them, in the end, you can always go back and be able to trust them to have your back in everything.
I do feel like I’m growing. Before Cookson Hills, I had a hard time making friends and putting myself out there. I feel like at Cookson Hills I’ve been able to see if I’m overreacting to something and be able to tone it down. I’m able to work through it without getting so worked up over whatever it was. I feel like Cookson Hills has really helped me understand that what happened to me growing up wasn’t because of something I did. I’m thankful for Cookson Hills. They’ve helped me understand that no matter how many bad things come my way that God is always going to be there. The best part of Cookson Hills is definitely how upbeat and friendly everyone is. Everyone is loving and just cares for each other.