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Excelsior Success Stories


Photo of Valerie and her beautiful family

By Joan Gabrielson, Executive Director

One of the greatest joys in working at Excelsior is when a former Excelsior resident calls and says “I just wanted to thank you for helping me. I am doing really well and I have Excelsior to thank for that.” Regularly we get emails, letters, photos of their families and personal visits from girls who still think of Excelsior as home, a place where they struggled and then succeeded and a place where staff really cared about them. Here are just a couple of the messages from those young women.

Valerie. “I was at Excelsior in 2001. When I arrived, I was 15 and not happy to be there! Having been the victim of abuse and sexual assault, I was very angry, out of control, dishonest, hurt and confused. I came from a bad background to say the least. I came in drugged out of my mind and Excelsior started to take me off the meds. You all did therapy with me and gave me, finally, a stable home. The staff were loving and hard working. I loved knowing what was expected of me and what was going to happen each day. I loved being in a controlled, safe place. Excelsior gave me experiences that my family couldn't have. I got to go skiing and snow boarding. The horse therapy program really helped me. I worked hard on my program so I could earn outings to football and basketball games, indoor water parks and theme parks. You guys didn’t just hand those thing to us! Anyways, I really started to do well, in this new place.

The staff gave me the tools I needed to succeed in life. You helped me learn how to grocery shop and how to get a job. I got a job on campus and from there I worked into getting an off campus job. Later, I even got to live on my own in Excelsior's townhouse off campus. I did so well in school that I skipped a grade! Before Excelsior, I had always done very badly in school.

Today I am on no meds. I'm stable. I have been with my husband who is a cop for 5 years. I have 2 beautiful sons. I have been successful in never getting fired from a job. I can say I have never been to jail. I have never used drugs. I don't drink, or smoke. All of those facts would not have been possible if I had not gone to this school. Thank you Excelsior!”

Christina. “First off I'm a very happy 33 year old that lives each day to the fullest. I currently work in a nursing home which makes me feel like I'm helping people who need it the most. If there is one thing in my life I'm grateful for is Excelsior Youth Center. If it was not for EYC, I would not be where I am right now in my life, Thank you all so much for putting my butt in check.”

Congratulations to Valerie, Christina and all of the young women who have come through our doors, opened their hearts and mind to our program and worked so hard to turn their lives around. You inspire us as staff.