At Ascend, we believe that the adolescents who experience our treatment program have a lot of wisdom to share after their time with us is over. In order to ensure they can pass their thoughts on to incoming clients, we created the Legacy Project. Every adolescent who spends time at Ascend is given the opportunity to write a letter to future clients. They won’t ever meet these kids, but in some way, they still have a chance to touch their lives. We’re proud of a project that can ensure teens are helping other teens succeed.
Are you curious to hear what these young people have to say? Explore some excerpts from a few of our most recent graduates here.
“Before I came to Ascend, I felt depressed and anxious every day. I was smoking weed to cope with my emotions that I didn’t want to face. I hadn’t been to school in about a month and my Mom gave me the option to either go back to school or get some more help. That’s when I decided to go to Ascend.
While here, I have learned how to healthily express my emotions. I’ve learned that it’s okay for me to feel all my emotions, even the “bad” ones, like anger and sadness. It’s important to trust other people and be vulnerable. I thought I wouldn’t like it here, but I had some good memories during my time here. Surf therapy and going to the beach were relaxing, and I liked spending time with everyone and getting ice cream after AA meetings.
My life has changed for the better since I came here. I am a much more open and honest person, and I have become a more authentic person. Now, I love who I am and have hope for my future. To future clients, I would say to take advantage of your time here. People are willing to help if you ask for the help you need. When you are open about what you think and feel, you’re going to make progress and grow.”
“Before I came to Ascend, I was stuck in my negative past. I have major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder. I went in and out of hospitals from October to December. Self-harm was a huge problem for me. I couldn’t seem to get out of the mindset that nothing was ever going to get better and that I would never have a future.
At Ascend, I have learned a substantial amount of lessons here that I will never forget. The most prominent one is “Forgive and Recommit.” I would get on to myself for hurting myself so much that it made my depression even worse. When I started actually applying Forgive and Recommit, it changed my stay and ultimately my life. I have slipped up many times in my stay here, but by applying this motto, I have improved.
Another lesson I learned here is to not let my diagnosis define me. I hid from the world in my diagnoses. It was where I was most comfortable and it was something I could blame for my actions instead of myself. I realized why I let them define me. I thought if I wrapped myself in these things, I would finally be safe from everyone and myself. I am not hiding from the world anymore and at Ascend, I have learned how to get out of my comfort zone.
Being here has helped me more than my past self could even imagine. Since I had been through so many treatment centers that have not helped at all, I came in with the attitude that this wasn’t going to help at all. My advice for future clients is to not hold back. Share your fears, experiences, struggles, worries, resentments, and past. It’s really scary and hard at first, but once you start sharing, the sensation is amazing.”
“My life was uncontrollable, I was digging myself into a deeper and deeper depression until I finally reached rock bottom. I was very emotional and I just wanted to quit when times got hard. When I came to Ascend I took a break from everything and really focused on myself. I finally let out my insides, what I wanted to do, my passions and interests that I was too scared to be open and passionate about. I’m very glad that I came to that realization and that I am way more confident in myself than I have ever been before.
Some words of wisdom to anyone that feels they’re in that deep hole: nothing will make you more happy than doing what you love to do, so don’t be scared or embarrassed by your passions — embrace them. Ascend will help you realize that because it is the safest place in the world for you to open with anyone. The people here are only here to help you.”
Leaving a Legacy
Giving our clients purpose has always been one of our goals. Now that they have the chance to pass on their knowledge to others, they’re motivated to be one of those teens helping other teens.
If you want to hear more about how our teens are helping other teens, stay tuned to Ascend’s blog for future posts about the Legacy Project. You’ll get to hear even more stories and experiences from former clients, and watch as they pass down their wisdom to future clients.