In the fall, after living a very normal and healthy life, my teachers, parents, siblings, and peers all noticed a change in me. I was very depressed, anxious, antisocial, and irritable to the point where I was basically unable to function. These changes were the beginning of a very rough time period for me which lasted for almost 2 years. During that time period I was hospitalized six times. I was constantly being prescribed different medications. I was very angry at times and I used poor coping strategies to deal with my emotions. I also started to realize that my parents’ divorce when I was six years old may have impacted me more than I once thought it did.
My family and I tried many things, and not much was helping. My mother ran the idea of going to Grove by me and I was not opposed to it. One day in May we visited the school and took a tour. Ironically, the boy who gave me a tour turned out to be a very good friend of mine. A few days after the tour I got a phone call stating that I was accepted into the program.
I started at Grove the following July and at first I was very shy, I did not have a lot to say. Gradually through encouragement from my therapist, advisor, staff, and peers I became much more sociable, friendly, and because of the encouragement I developed much more self confidence. The encouragement I received helped me acquire new personal qualities as well as renew qualities that I once had that diminished. Through encouragement from people at Grove I realized I was smart, athletic, kind, humorous, and that I should take pride in who I am.
My experience at Grove was amazing. I will never forget my time on the A.S.T.E.E trips whether it was exploring the seas in the Caribbean, or helping out an impoverished community in El Salvador. I made some great friendships with students and staff at Grove that I will always cherish. Living at Grove taught me how to structure my daily routine. I learned to set aside time for studying, and fitness, and spending time with family and friends.
After I left Grove I attended Middlesex community college for two years and got an associates degree in general studies. After receiving the degree I transferred to Central Connecticut State University and decided to take up social work as a major. At CCSU I was inducted into the Phi Alpha honor society academic excellence. I graduated from CCSU in with a 3.67 GPA receiving cum laude honors. If it wasn’t for the positive experiences the way staff impacted at me at Grove I wouldn’t have chosen social work as a career path. It was because of the way staff at Grove impacted me in which inspired me to take up a profession where I could have a similar impact. The people who work at Grove are some of the most genuinely caring people I’ve ever met. Not only does this school change lives, but it saves them as well.
Recently I have had the opportunity to see Grove from a different perspective. I was a care staff at Grove in the summer before my senior year of college. I have just finished applying to Master’s in Social Work programs for summer/fall and I know that the experience of working at the Grove School will look great on a resume and help prepare me for the social work field.
Working as a care staff continues to be an unbelievable experience. I learned that Grove is not only a great place to help children but also a great place to work. I have gained an even greater appreciation for Grove while working as a care staff. Throughout my life I have attended many different schools, I have worked in and interned in many different institutions. With that being said I truly believe that The Grove School is special organization with a unique environment.