Eight-year-old Kendale wears a small beaded bracelet on her right wrist. The beads include mud from the Dead Sea, the lowest point on Earth, and water from Mount Everest, the highest peak in the world.
It’s a reminder that even on your lowest days, there is nowhere to go but up. And on your highest days, you must stay kind and humble toward those who are not as fortunate as you.
Kendale wears her bracelet every day at LSI’s Beloit Residential Treatment Center in Ames. Though she is overcoming years of trauma and anger, she is putting her lowest days behind her and striving towards her highest peak.
Kendale was adopted at age 4. But as she grew older, she began lying, manipulating, and acting out violently toward her siblings and peers. Her family members felt terrified and helpless, and they turned to residential treatment facilities across Iowa for help.
But nothing worked. Kendale showed no signs of progress. Her family’s last hope was LSI’s Beloit Residential Treatment Center in Ames.
Kendale arrived at Beloit’s campus last September. She remembers feeling anxious when she moved in.
“I was really scared and nervous,” she says. “I didn’t know anybody.”
But as each day passed, Kendale began feeling more comfortable and open to LSI staff, especially Ashley, a Youth Associate at Beloit.
Ashley and the LSI team have been working with Kendale on communicating and building positive relationships, as well as developing healthy decision-making and anger management skills.
“It’s beautiful to see Kendale blossom. She is a lovely little lady with an incredible imagination and a big heart,” Ashley says. “I’m so proud of how far she has come and the joy she exudes every day.”
As a third-grader, Kendale’s favorite class in school is art. She wants to be an artist or own a donut shop, but also be “just like Ashley” when she’s older.
She’s learning to control her anger by working with Ashley and the LSI team to find the coping skills that work best for her. Her favorite stuffed animal – though she loves all stuffed animals – is Sparky the Tiger. He’s a small Beanie Baby with bright green eyes and whenever Kendale feels angry, she can squeeze Sparky and calm down.
Kendale feels “normal” at Beloit, now. Her room is decorated with a donut pillow, showing off her love of her favorite food. After eating a bright blue lollipop at school, Kendale shows off her blue tongue to LSI staff. She has developed a routine and is surrounded by a passionate LSI team that makes her feel confident and empowered.
“Everyone is really friendly here,” she says. “Beloit is a very good place.”