Crystal May Arellano remembers reaching a turning point.
After experiencing anxiety and depression stemming from stress at home, Crystal found help at Kahi Mohala Behavioral Health in Ewa Beach.
“I thought I didn’t belong there, that I should be at home,” she said. “But I needed the space and time to think about it, and that’s what I did.”
Now a Waipahu High School senior, Crystal has worked with Hale Kipa’s Intensive In-home Services, which provides individual and family therapy and support, since May 2013. She plans to graduate this spring with help from the Hale Kipa Education Program, which has assisted with credit recovery and the completion of online courses such as World History and English.
“After Kahi, she transitioned back to school and never looked back,” said Cherie Park, MSCP with Hale Kipa, who has worked with Crystal since July 2013. “She has come a long way.”
In addition to balancing a course load of up to 10 classes this year, Crystal, who is 18 years old, also looks after her younger brother and sister at her family’s Waipahu home while their mom works.
With continued therapy, she is now going out more with friends, and spent the past summer participating in Hale Kipa’s Education/Vocational Program, which offered eight weeks of classroom and hands-on experiential learning for at-risk youth. She said she enjoyed meeting new friends, being out in the community, and getting to experience new places throughout the program.
“Crystal is really inspiring, and for someone her age to deal with what she has to deal with – it takes someone who is really strong,” Cherie said.
After graduation, Crystal plans to work and also study psychology at Leeward Community College, with the goal of transferring to a four-year university to earn a bachelor’s degree.
“I have been interested in that study for a long time, since late middle school,” she said. “I found it interesting because I like helping people, and I like knowing what’s wrong.”
Crystal also hopes to become proficient in American Sign Language so she can better help and communicate with her sister and other people who are hearing impaired.
“My friends and family motivate me,” she said. “I want to finish high school with my friends because they have always been close to me, and it would be a great accomplishment to graduate with them in the end.”
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