Erwin Hills – Nicole (last name withheld) graduated from Eliada the very last week of October. For her graduation project she made two masks. The first was painted black with red around the eyes. She says it represented how she felt about herself before coming to Eliada. On the mask in sharpie marker, she wrote phrases like, “I need a man.”
The second mask she decorated with glitter. In red sharpie she wrote positive affirmations on it. It says things like, “I am beautiful.” “I don’t need someone to make me happy.” “I only need myself and my family.”
Nicole is graduating from Eliada after she worked hard for months in her treatment program. She describes her time at Eliada as being very focused on “what I needed to do to take my treatment to the next level.” This drive has all culminated in her graduation and transition home–an outcome we work towards with every youth who comes to live here said a press release from Eliada.
Nicole expresses that she faced challenges at Eliada. She says, “This place is hard, but you can get through it. The girls in my cottage have pushed me hard every day to do better.”
A big piece of Nicole’s treatment experience has been her time at the barn. It’s her favorite place. She says at the barn she can “take a breath” and take in the beauty of Eliada’s campus. Nicole’s ridden horses since she was 4, so it isn’t surprising that working with the horses at Eliada’s barn was a natural fit for her.
The horse she connected with most was Red. She says Red is often stereotyped as mean and stand-offish. She saw herself in him, and recognized that he just needed love and attention. She says that “once you get to know him, he’s so sweet. He saw through my worst moments and loved me.”
Nicole wants to be a horse Farrier and Trainer when she grows up. She specifically wants to work with disabled children.
Nicole says she’ll be back for the annual alumni reunion. She thanks the staff at Eliada who have advocated for her: Lindsey, Bryan, Becca, Alice, Brynn, and Eric. She’s grateful to be going home to spend time with her family.
We are so proud of Nicole and how much she’s accomplished in her time at Eliada. We can’t wait to see her when she visits said the release.