How Jadie Reached Her Full Potential

November 23, 2020

There’s a charisma about Jadie that’s evident from the moment you meet her. Her infectious laugh, kind smile, and gentle demeanor take center stage. But the Charterhouse School sophomore is quick to remind us it hasn’t always been like this.

“I’ve come a very long way,” Jadie said confidently. “All that stuff from before is past me. The challenges have disappeared.”

It’s true: Jadie has conquered much. And while the sincere optimism she so prominently displays didn’t always live on the surface, it does so today because of her tremendous resiliency, resolve, and relentless pursuit of solutions.

After years of seeking out support to help Jadie manage her anger, she and her mother, Kathryn, finally found what they’d been seeking when they relocated to Richmond from Durham, N.C., in 2017. “UMFS and Charterhouse School are exactly what we were looking for,” Kathryn explained. “They offer that emotional and therapeutic support that you really just can find elsewhere. We felt it immediately, that it was a nice and welcoming environment.”

Jadie echoed the sentiment, saying she was shy and nervous when she first began at Charterhouse School. But teachers, student support coaches, and therapists quickly made a point to get to know her and include her, and that’s when real progress began. “They basically helped me reach my full potential,” Jadie said.

Jadie’s full potential is indeed being realized, as evidenced by the strides she continues to make coping with anger, as well as by her success in Charterhouse School’s student-internship program. And though her internship took a temporary pause because of the all-virtual learning environment associated with the coronavirus crisis, Jadie never lost enthusiasm for the work she does on campus and looks forward to resuming when circumstances permit. “I love shredding,” she said with a smile, citing her affinity for her internship duties, which include collecting discarded documents from buildings across the UMFS Richmond campus and feeding them into an automated shredding machine.

Enrolling in Charterhouse School was absolutely the right choice for both parent and student, Kathryn said, but really the entirety of UMFS is what’s made the difference. “It’s been a full wraparound experience,” Kathryn explained. “From a parent’s perspective, the resources on this campus and knowledge of this staff are unbelievable.”

Part of that wraparound experience included Jadie and Kathryn’s 12-month participation in UMFS Intensive Care Coordination (ICC), an evidence-informed treatment model in which a youth and family are surrounded by a team of professionals, family, and other resources. “They really embraced the ICC process and the idea of creating a team to support them in reaching their family vision,” said Gina, a UMFS Social Worker and ICC Facilitator. Gina called the family vision, which was written in Jadie’s own words, one of her favorites to date. “It was so creative,” Gina said.

The vision reads: “The family is a safe place where trust is communicated and a positive future is bright. Jadie communicates her needs with words, practices safe behaviors and looks forward to scootering through life.”

Jadie isn’t simply scootering through life, though. She’s working diligently day in and day out to achieve her goals. With the consistency and structure provided by Charterhouse School, and by incorporating the holistic approach to healing learned in ICC, Jadie and her mother are seeing real change. The difference from where they are today compared with where they were before UMFS is “night and day,” Kathryn said.

Jadie and Kathryn are embracing this newfound period of calm. It’s much-needed and welcome relief for not only themselves, but also for the friends and family who’ve helped along the way, Kathryn said. “We saw significant improvements in just a month or two with ICC,” she said. “Jadie learned to solve problems, and she learned to control her anger. ICC literally saved our life.”

Now that they’re equipped with the skills to manage challenges and the tools to eliminate outbursts before they begin, there’s much more time for the little things, like laughing and smiling. “And shredding!” Jadie joked.

And when asked what she’s enjoyed most about UMFS and Charterhouse School — aside from shredding documents, of course — Jadie responded immediately and without hesitation.

“Making friends,” she said.