Savannah came to Western Youth Services a few years after she was placed in foster care due to domestic violence.
Her history revealed that at the age of 6 years old, she didn’t have the words to describe what she was feeling inside and didn’t understand why she couldn’t be with her mother and siblings.
Savannah’s foster mother reported that she cried most of the day, would curl into a ball and scream anytime someone came near her and struggled with getting to sleep.
Building Trust One Week at a Time
Early attempts to get help were unsuccessful. In fact, when Savannah eventually came to Western Youth Services at the age of 10, she refused to participate in therapy. We believed in her. We continued to provide Savannah with a safe place to begin identifying and expressing her feelings. Over time, Savannah began to verbalize her thoughts and feelings and at the age of 11, for the first time, she disclosed to her therapist the additional trauma and abuse that she experienced at the hand of the adults in her younger years.
Savannah received a form of treatment designed to address childhood trauma. She was in treatment for over a year when she learned how to manage her anxiety and felt prepared for the amazing healing journey that would include some very difficult circumstances.
Taking Control of Her Own Life
As a result of her early exposure to adverse childhood experiences, Savannah was asked to testify in court against her abuser. Savannah’s therapist was able to sit in the courtroom with her on the day she testified. She watched as Savannah sat in a big chair and talked into a microphone that seemed far too large for a young person. Savannah was able to state the facts as she remembered them and held her head up high, looking into the face of her abuser. It was at that moment, her therapist knew Savannah had truly taken control of her own life and feelings.
Savannah is now 12 years old and in middle school. She started a group last year for kids who are bullied and will be the upcoming class president. In her campaign speech, she stated her goal in life is to “help those who are unable to do so for themselves, just like I was helped all of those years; someone saved my life and now I’m going to do the same.”
Savannah says she plans on becoming a clinical psychologist and working with childhood survivors of abuse.