Hi, my name is Catreena. As an 8th grader, I shared my story in a blog called, Finding Hope. I have since finished up my freshman year as well as the chapter of my life spent at Cookson Hills. I’d like to share how God has continued to give me opportunities for growth throughout my time here.
Being at Cookson Hills is kind of a challenge, but at the same time, it’s not. When I first arrived, I didn’t want to be here. I thought it was horrible because I honestly didn’t want to try, especially in school. But a teacher got tired of me saying, “I can’t do this!” He began adding to my sentence, “…yet. You can’t do this yet.” After that, I began to try… and once I started trying, I found that I was very capable of doing many things. I watched as friends made bad choices and had to leave Cookson Hills. It was eye-opening to realize, that could have been me. My perspective on being here began to change; I realized that Cookson Hills is what you make it.
I’ve been through a lot during this past year and a half. No one said coming to Cookson Hills was going to be easy. It’s not easy at all, people come and go, whether you want them to stay or not. I’ve lost some of my best friends here. I’ve dealt with stress and heartache about my family situation at home. But none of this stopped me from achieving my goals of maintaining a good relationship with my mom, bettering my relationship with my sisters, and learning to talk about how I feel when the situation calls for it.
My choices and actions have changed since being here. I am always asking for help and my decisions are wiser now. For the first time, I watched as a friend boldly and respectfully shared her feelings with her parents. I’ve watched in amazement as my house dad, Mr. Henady, has shown a lot of patience, even with everything that goes on in the house of 10 kids. He has taught me how to approach people calmly instead of with anger when things are out of my control.
In Bible class, I have learned about boundaries and how important it is to set them for yourself. Because of my past, I hate when people try to hug me. I didn’t realize that before, but touch always caused me to pull away from others. Now that I am aware of my feelings and know how to set boundaries, I feel like I have more control and I am able to have better relationships.
My teachers here have also helped me learn to take responsibility and to speak up for myself. I still remember the first time I ever asked for help; it was in math class. Before, I had always been determined to do things on my own, but that day I let my guard down and let someone help me.
I have a wonderful relationship with my mom now! I talk to her instead of pushing her away and we do mother and daughter stuff together! I am ready to finally go back home. Even though I’m stressing a lot about leaving my best friends here, I am happy to be going home to a family I care about and love.
Cookson Hills is a great place for people who need help. It is not a lock-down facility; it is a beautiful place for people to meet amazing people. Before I came to Cookson Hills, I hated everyone but my brother. Now, hate is a really strong word, I don’t hate anyone anymore. I got the help I needed here, and it’s all because of my houseparents, teachers, and the friends I’ve made. Cookson Hills is the place where I became a Christian and a place that I shall forever remember. I now know what it feels like to have better friends, a better personality, and live a better life. I’m a new, loving person.