Editor’s Note: Chief Executive Officer Steve Elson received this letter from a former Casa Pacifica resident.
How are you doing? Me, I’m fine. If you don’t recognize my name, that’s because my last name was different when I attended Casa. The reason I’m writing is to let you know how lucky I am to have been placed at Casa Pacifica.
At a very critical time in my life, I was abandoned by my parents, and the rest of my immediate family had passed me on like an object. Instead of treating me like a human, I was neglected. When I couldn’t take it any more, I became very depressed. The police eventually happened across my way. I had no place to go – my family had vanished.
The police took me to Casa. I was seen by a nurse first thing. I was later taken to the hospital, and they treated my skin from a really bad disorder. When I got back I received a hot meal, a shower and a bed. The staff there were so welcoming. They made me feel safe.
I received a lot of help and counseling in the shelter, but supervisor Jerome wasn’t convinced it was enough. I was transferred to the RTC program. There I met three of the most important people of my life, David, Ben and Arlene. They helped me overcome my depression. They taught me how to control my anger. They encouraged me to do well. They encouraged me to do well in my academics. When I was doing well they always gave me strength in therapeutic peptalks. They taught me there was always something better than good and that I could achieve it. And when it was time to leave, they taught me that all change is scary but it is the only route to success.
I went to Casa with a 3rd grade reading level. I’m now at a 12th grade level in all my academics. The two best teachers I ever had were Bruce and Denise. All the other staff at Casa were great influences, always positive role models. They are always willing to go out of their way to help someone else. If I didn’t have the privilege of being at Casa, my life would probably be a great deal of adversity.
I don’t know how I could ever repay someone like David, Ben and Arlene for all the help they have given me. But I can’t possibly go the rest of my life without them knowing that I am thankful. I owe them a great deal of gratitude, as well as all the staff therapists, teachers, nurses, supervisors, activities staff – and I can’t forget the behavioral specialists. I wish they knew how thankful I am.
P.S. You still owe me a basketball game.
Editor’s Note: Michael’s name and photo have been changed to protect his privacy.