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New Haven Alumni - 2008 Erica

"I could go on for days about where I am now compared to where I was then! It seems like a completely different life.. New Haven helped me so much, and I love being able to give the gift back!"

New Haven Erica-1

Where are you now?

I still live in Utah, after seeing these mountains can you blame me for never leaving?! My story after new haven is loooong. New haven did not by any means solve all of my problems. I didn't leave a perfect child, but I did leave more open to the process of investigating myself. It saved my life. I graduated with my degree in Recreation therapy (inspired by NH) and am now a licensed recreation therapist in the state of utah- I am currently working at a prominent mental health hospital! I also opened my own business last year.

"Recreation therapy changed my life. Recreation therapy was exactly what I needed."

- Erica

I talk to my parents often, They visit me and I visit them often. I have a house with my partner and our two dogs. We met rock climbing-I could write five pages about all of our adventures together- we do it all. We recently spent two weeks in Japan traveling in a van and snowboarding. Last year, we spent a few weeks in Colombia after my little sister's wedding and went white water rafting, paragliding and hiking.

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The year before that we trekked 50 miles and sumitted 15,000ft in Peru. We mountain bike, backpack, canyoneer, climb, ice climb, kayak etc. You name it we do it- oh and yes our dogs join us!

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What part of New Haven was most helpful?

Recreation therapy changed my life. Recreation therapy was exactly what I needed. I wasn’t trying to call upon the events of my past while sitting in a chair in someone’s office. I wasn’t trying to analyze the emotions I wasn’t currently feeling. I was present. Engaged. And working on the moment. There was no time to allow my reality to become distorted or for me to disconnect entirely. Recreation therapy put me in a position to address what was happening as it was happening with the support of a licensed therapist. It worked for me. I stopped trying to remember some time two years ago when I had acted out and then attempt to process why. I was working on why I acted out in the group five minutes ago, while trying to problem-solve with my peers. My core beliefs were laid out in front of me because I was placed in situations in which they would be triggered.

How would you describe your family relationships now?

When I first came to New Haven my mother and I couldn't stand to be in the same room as each other. We still get on each other's nerves from time to time, don't get me wrong, but we talk often and visit each other regularly. She is my biggest support and I know I can call her if I need anything at all.

Click below to see how other New Haven Alumni are doing!

New Haven Alumni Parent - Donelyn

"our biggest success is that we have a living, growing relationship with the daughter whom we love so dearly and who now readily acknowledges the love she has for us."

New Haven Alumni - Hayley

"Everything we went through as a family... we all fought this battle together and though we didn't make it through unscathed, we came out victorious."