Patrice's Story

Addressing Trauma Through the Power of Experiential Therapy


Life before Denver Children’s Home was chaotic for Patrice. Born in Ethiopia, her parents and sister passed away when she was very young leaving Patrice vulnerable to trauma and abuse. At the age of seven, Patrice was adopted from an orphanage and moved to the United States.

Unfortunately, her early life experiences left Patrice unable to trust her new family. She acted explosively and unpredictably, often testing her family to see if they too would betray her. Patrice needed more support than her family could offer, and she was sent to multiple treatment centers with unsuccessful outcomes. When Patrice arrived at Denver Children’s Home in the Spring of 2017 she felt scared and alone, but she wanted this placement to be different.

“When I first came, I noticed right away that the staff really cared and supported me. They made me feel understood and they wanted to help.”

 She worked closely with her therapist and the therapy dog and started to thrive during art therapy sessions. Before arriving at the Home, painting was something Patrice would do just for fun. Now, she uses art to help her cope and explore her feelings. Patrice now paints her vision of a life she hopes to have which includes going to college, playing volleyball, and being a fashion designer.

Patrice is preparing to discharge to a lower level of care, but first she is applying for Blue level, our highest behavior level which will make her a peer leader and allow her to gain special privileges.

“I’m excited to earn Blue level and set a positive example for other kids here.”