A Motivational Transition

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“Our meetings mean a lot to me because sometimes I feel bad or sad and I know I can tell you and you’re going to hear me and not judge me”. 17-year-old student

Acknowledge Alliance is proud to share Ricardo’s success story, as told by one of our Transition Program Therapists.

Ricardo was referred by Sequoia High School District to get support through our Transition Program after transferring from an expulsion school to District High School. In this program, we offer weekly therapy sessions for students transferring or returning to comprehensive high schools from the smaller settings of the County Court and Community Schools, expulsion schools and Juvenile Hall.

This was Ricardo’s second year attending school in the United States after emigrating from Mexico two years ago. His family made the decision to send him to live with his family in the US because he was deeply involved in a gang in Mexico, which meant that his life was in imminent danger.

From our first session, it was clear that Ricardo was overwhelmed. He struggled to adjust to the new school’s academic expectations, student volume, and social and economic diversity. His relationship with his mother was unstable as well, and he was greatly missing his maternal grandmother, with whom he grew up.

Ricardo and I met weekly, sometimes twice weekly, during school days. He showed up to every meeting with no exception, sometimes asking to meet again, during more strenuous times. He became comfortable expressing his emotions, whether it was sadness, joy, or anger. When he tried to make sense of certain situations and/or relationships, he often referred to previous conversations we had.

Through our sessions, Ricardo learned to understand and value the perspective and maturity he gained through his life experiences and tragedies. He developed a better sense of who he is, what his needs are and where he can get those needs met – allowing him to manage himself better within and outside his relationships. “I can control my reaction to my mom better, because of therapy.”

By the end of the year, Ricardo felt that he had adjusted to school and became strongly motivated to succeed: “When I started going to school, I just wanted to waste my time, but now I want to graduate and go to college.”

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