Samia's Story

Hi, my name is Samia. Let me start off by telling you a little about myself and my experience. At the age of 14, I was suddenly removed from my home and placed into residential care. Two years later, I ended up at Randolph Children's Home with everything I owned. I was absolutely miserable and confused. I had just been moved from one placement to another three days before I turned sixteen. It took me some time to fit in, to trust those around me, to learn the program and to understand why I'm was there and my reasoning for being on this path. I gravitated toward a few peers and teachers who helped me to learn the five norms. These norms are Respect, Responsibility, Safety, Being Goal-Directed and The Classroom is Sacred. These norms all reflect each other and one cannot work without the other four.

While at school I focused being respectful. Respect is an essential part of human life. What we do when we respect someone is that we recognize their value. When you disrespect someone you are really do nothing other than saying to someone "you are not valuable." "You are not worthy." Respecting others is a silent way to express our feeling for them. It's an unspoken way of communication which builds unshaken and strong relations between people respecting each other. When a person shows respect for someone, then it means that the person has some value for them.

It wasn't until the last about eight months, that I became a positive leader and began helping other peers confront negative behaviors in class and on unit. I found value in helping those around me.

Since being discharged on my eighteenth birthday I have graduated from high school, moved to Buffalo, got my own apartment and began working for for a social service agency. I work in a group home setting with intellectually disabled individuals. When the individuals I work with feel disrespected or unsafe, they become unstable and aren't able to move forward. Although I'm there to support them, It is still their job to collect themselves and be responsible. I know that it was frustrating, that these norms were so heavily encouraged, but I've found that they do carry into your every day life.

I promise you, that when you leave care, and you're doing well for yourself, you will remember the times you cried yourself to sleep or begged your judge to send you home, but VERY faintly. You'll want to come back and visit because you're so grateful of the teachers and staff that showed you a little love & discipline to help you along the way. And when you do come back, do it with something to show. Show everyone that you made it, and that the time you spent here at the home and at the Academy, helped you to get where you are. Shout out the pain you experienced for making you as understanding and as knowledgeable as you've become.

The Family Tree

The Family Tree

I grew up here
Learning, experiencing, trusting
Every flower that grows and every flower I see
Every good morning or, “Hey Emalee”!
Any tree and any bee
On this campus is beautiful to me
Where I was once shy but now can fly
I am not afraid to be me
When I think of this school, I think of beauty
When I think of the staff I think of love
Where everyone works together happily
This is the Henrietta G. Lewis family tree
This place is the true meaning of beauty to me.

By Emalee

(For privacy considerations, Emalee's photo does not accompany this story)