Auldern Alumni Family Spends Spring Break on Campus
The week of April 26th 2018 was Spring Break for high school junior and Auldern Alum, Verika. And while many high school students across the country spent their break pursuing typical vacation activities, Verika requested to spend her time visiting the staff and students at Auldern. Verika’s parents, Rick and Veronica, though surprised, were happy to accommodate this request.
“She hated everything when she first enrolled at Auldern, but after 14 months, she didn’t want to leave,” Rick said. “For her to want to come visit says a lot.”
Not Quite Out of the Woods
Prior to searching for therapeutic programs for Verika, Rick and Veronica described various behaviors that led to her initial placement in a North Carolinas wilderness therapy program.
“She was boy crazy, self-harming, running away from home and talking back,” they said.
Rick and Veronica also noticed an unhealthy attachment to her electronics and realized they needed outside help before things got worse.
After a successful 44 days in wilderness therapy, Rick and Veronica brought Verika home, with the support of a community-based wraparound service. However, they soon realized that she still needed much more structure and support.
In hindsight, Rick and Veronica believe that going home after wilderness was not the right choice.
“We should have come straight to Auldern,” Rick said.
Auldern Was the Answer
Verika enrolled at Auldern on July 14th 2016, after her parents did an extensive online search for therapeutic boarding schools.
“We wanted an all-girls school; something on the East Coast,” Rick said. “We did research on what Auldern specialized in,” he went on to say. “For her [Auldern] was the perfect match.”
Rick and Veronica felt that Auldern was a behavioral program that worked with girls exhibiting similar behaviors to what they were experiencing with Verika. The academic program stood out to them as well.
“Verika was always a straight-A student before Auldern, and she did wonderfully here. The discipline and focus was intense,” her parents said. “She felt challenged.”
Therapeutically, parents experienced flexibility within the clinical structure. Though Verika started with one therapist, she felt her initial clinician was too much of “a softy,” and advocated to switch to someone who would challenge her more.
While Verika participated in therapy at Auldern, Rick and Veronica received support as parents, through coaching, family therapy, parent weekends and on-campus workshops.
“We came to visit at least four times,” they said.
Life After Auldern
Verika has been home for almost 9 months, and according to her parents, things are going well.
“She did a turnaround,” Veronica said. “She still has some issues, but not like before.”
Parents notice that Verika continues to incorporate the skills she learned at Auldern.
“She’s managing her stress better. She can take ‘no’ for an answer. And now she stops and thinks.” Veronica said, and Rick agreed.
“[Auldern] gave her sufficient tools to continue to grow,” he said.
Parents acknowledge that while they’ve seen a major improvement, Verika is a teenage girl, who will still struggle at times.
“We had to call [her therapist] a month ago to have a conversation [with Verika],” they said. “She straightened her out pretty well.”
After returning home, Rick reflected on the visit to Auldern and shared his thoughts via email.
“It was a pleasure sharing our experience at Auldern with you . . . Our daughter Verika is a success story for Auldern. It’s hard to find people who really care about these young ladies, and believe in the Auldern way. I’m just thankful to God that we somehow found Auldern, and in the process became a family again.”