“Saying goodbye is something you have to do with everyone and everything at least once. It is one of the hardest things I have had to do. Being here eleven months is unreal! I have gotten to watch people who I loved more than ever leave as amazing people and now that I get to leave after growing and becoming stronger is such a struggle. I am now saying goodbye to the people I love and care about who have helped me grow into the person I am today.

Elk Mountain has helped me more than I can express! I came here with so many issues that I didn’t even know about, and some that I just didn’t want to admit were true. I was a liar, I stole, I had a bad relationship with my family, I showed emotion through anger, self harm and making bad decisions, I had low self esteem, I didn’t have a real relationship with God and with others, and I was confused, hurt and lonely. As I began to grow at Elk Mountain I got a Clear View of why I did some of these things and why I felt the way I did. Once I got to Elk Mountain my struggle with knowing what to do with all the emotion inside of me was still there. Within the first few months I tried running away thinking it would get me away from my pain, but I found it follows you everywhere you go.

In my time here I have gained so many qualities I will be able to use throughout my lifetime. Having fourteen or more girls living in one house can get quite crazy. There is tons of drama, you never have time to yourself, and sometimes people are here that you just don’t get along with. Because of this I gained the ability to stay out of drama, be patient and forgiving, and to love and care for people who need it. The friendships I have made here are what got me through these eleven months. I now have healthy people to contact and keep me in my higher self. Along with my relationships with friends my relationship with God played a huge part in my life. Jeremiah 29:11 says “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “Plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a FUTURE and a HOPE.” That promise God made for us kept me going through it all. Knowing I have a purpose, and that I am not here for nothing helped me see myself in a brighter light.

Elk Mountain also helped me face my fears and experience “the great outdoors.” I have never been an outside kind of girl so this was hard for me. The two big adventures we went on were a canoe trip and a white water rafting trip. The white water rafting trip is when I really began to see the world’s beauty and began figuring out who I was. There were no outside distractions. It was one of the best experiences of my life and I will carry those memories with me for the rest of my life.

As I look back at my time at Elk Mountain there are things I hated about it, but the good things that I learned from this place overpower the bad! I am a new person and I still have more growing to do but with the tools Elk Mountain gave me I will be able to fight and push through all the hardships life throws my way.”