Kandace is a soft-spoken teenager with an amazing story. She has survived heartbreaking trauma but has also seen renewed hope as she has spent the last several years connected with The Children’s Guild. Kandace was admitted to The Guild Academy, The Children’s Guild’s residential treatment program, and lived at Staffa House for four-and-a-half years. While there, she received the trauma-informed treatment she needed, and she thrived in its supportive setting. Kandace speaks highly of her time there, noting that she liked “everything” about Staffa House, especially when she had her own bedroom! Since her time here, Kandace has been adopted and continues to keep close ties to The Children’s Guild.
When it was discovered there had been a mistake in Kandace’s paperwork, and she was only 11 years old instead of 12, the required age for acceptance into The Guild Academy, Terri and her team obtained a waiver to have Kandace admitted early. The Guild Academy is The Children’s Guild’s residential treatment program. Kandace lived at Staffa House, the girls’ home at The Guild Academy, for four-and-a-half years. While there, she received the trauma-informed treatment she needed, and she thrived in its supportive setting.
When asked what she liked best about Staffa House, Kandace emphatically says, “Everything!” One of her favorite memories is the period when she had her own bedroom, and her eyes light up when she talks about the program’s many activities: “Group therapy, of course; Zumba classes; bowling; learning how to cook; learning how to budget money; going to the beach and local festivals; and Friday ‘chilling and rhythm’ nights.”
The goal of The Guild Academy is for students to learn enough to graduate to the next placement. “It was time for Kandace to progress with her life,” says Mrs. Maxwell. Kandace is currently a senior in high school, and she does not have supports outside of The Children’s Guild. “We want to ensure she has the best support system possible, and she deserves a home and the opportunity to experience the love of a family.”
Even positive transitions can be difficult. Kandace did not want to be adopted, and she was reluctant to leave. Special care was taken to find a placement that would allow her to maintain ties with Staffa House. Last year Kandace graduated to a placement within The Children’s Guild’s Treatment Foster care program. Kandace has experienced many “firsts” since then – her first airplane ride; her first trip to Disney World; her first Cardi B concert. Her new home is within walking distance of Staffa House, where she is a frequent visitor. Mrs. Maxwell says, “We miss her dearly, and we will always be there for her.”