Dear RedCliff Ascent Staff,
I would like to take this opportunity to once again thank all the staff who so graciously put together the reunion this spring. To say I had an amazing time does not give proper justice to the experience. I graduated from RedCliff five years ago this coming October. I spent the years after graduating trying to keep everything I learned at RCA very close to my heart and mind.
The staff who remember me from my initial stay in the program could tell you how much of a handful I was. I was a very confused, angry, scared, hurt, and out of control sixteen-year-old. I had lost all knowing of self-worth. RedCliff helped me see the world I was missing out on. I could finally understand everyone’s happiness because I was for once choosing to be happy myself. I learned how to be responsible for my own behavior and became more self-aware. Discipline in my experience prior to RedCliff was purely from an authoritative role. Learning from my own mistakes by natural and personal consequences helped me realize that even though I may upset people around me when I make poor decisions; I only hurt myself in the long run.
I learned how to not hide behind the “mask” I had been carrying around in my back pocket for times of insecurity. In the program I became my full self and became aware I had even more room to grow. At the end of my stay, I felt the most confident I had ever known to be possible. I knew I could do anything I set my mind to. For the first time ever, I was looking forward to my future.
The years after my graduation until recently were very bumpy for me. I struggled with remembering what I was capable of and what I had accomplished. I began to lose track of myself and who I wanted to be.
My mom called me and told me she received an email from RedCliff inviting me to an alumni reunion. I was ecstatic, to say the very least. I had absolutely no idea what to expect. But I knew I was ready for whatever RCA had to throw my way, once again.
I came to the reunion alone. I didn’t expect to see any students from my stay in the program and was unsure if there would be any familiar staff left from my time there. Once sitting down in base with the group after arriving back for the first time in five years, I had no feelings of unrest. I knew few people, but was not wary. With almost everyone I spoke to I quickly made instant connections. I felt at home. It was so comforting to be back in the field even with lots of fresh faces. The reunion was exactly what I needed to remember everything I learned when I was a student at RedCliff. I regained my feeling of empowerment and felt happy for the first time since I left years ago.
I want to thank you all so much for more than just setting up a great and perfectly coordinated reunion for all the lucky alumni who got to attend. But I also want to thank you for helping miraculously broaden my vision once again and helping me see that light at the end of my tunnel for a second time. I have no doubt the program saved my life, my happiness, and any hope I had for a bright future. No words can ever explain the deep, eternal gratitude I have for each and every one of the staff members who help change and save lives, like mine, every day. Thank you today, tomorrow, and for forever.
Noonday Orange Blossom
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