“I didn’t think I’d make it to 18,” said Millie*, a recent high school graduate who achieved this honor during her time at one of Upbring’s residential programs. “And guess what? I’m turning 18, I just graduated high school and I’m going to college. I love myself now.”

Millie has endured several traumatic experiences in her life and lived in multiple foster care arrangements. When she needed more intense therapeutic treatment than can be provided in a traditional home, she made tremendous strides toward healing at Upbring. Upbring’s home-like residential program specializing in trauma-informed care gave Millie space to focus on her wellbeing without distractions like toxic relationships and unstable living environments.

Attending the onsite Trinity Charter School during her time at an Upbring children’s center gave Millie the opportunity to take ownership of her education by developing an individualized graduation plan that fit her career goals. She was able to fill the gaps in her education through credit recovery so she could graduate on time.

As she leaves high school behind her Millie is filled with mixed emotions—nervous to go through another major transition, but elated to start the next chapter of her life knowing she is prepared. “I had so much anxiety about graduating,” said Millie. “But I’m grateful to my teachers for helping me figure everything out and going the extra mile for me.”

Trinity Charter School teachers help their students achieve new levels in their education as they navigate healing from trauma. Using multi-sensory and individualized methods based on each student’s learning style is an approach that often leads to classroom success. Millie is one of 20 Trinity Charter School graduates this year, all of whom have plans to attend college or trade school.

“I’m proud of Millie and each TCS graduate for overcoming their own difficult life experiences and completing the coursework needed to earn their diploma in the midst of a pandemic,” said Kellie Ragland, Superintendent of Trinity Charter Schools.

Just as having teachers cheering her on during high school helped Millie, having people to encourage her as she enters this next chapter of her life will be equally important. For young people who age out of foster care without a strong support system, the transition to adulthood can be scarier than it is for 18-year-olds surrounded by more experienced adults who stand ready to help when times get tough. Millie has a plan for this too.  She hopes to participate in a Supervised Independent Living program like Upbring BeREAL [link].

Millie’s high school degree has already opened the doors to college and will lead to many more milestones. Fueled by a desire to make art and inspired by the popular T.V. show, Stranger Things, Millie plans to major in theatre and psychology this fall. She also sees activism in her future. Because of her personal progress made through therapy, Millie wants to help other trauma survivors as an actress, motivational speaker and memoirist. “I want to bring positivity to everyone,” Millie said.

*Millie’s story is true, but we used a pseudonym to protect her privacy.

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