This month’s guest writer is Jennifer Stajduhar, a Therapist at Chaddock Special Education School. In her spare time Jennifer enjoys spending time with her daughter Amelia, her fur babies, and her boyfriend Dustin, and enjoys their adventures -the latest to the St. Louis Aquarium. Jennifer loves to read, play games, engage in fantasy role-play through Dungeons and Dragons, and focus on her various creative pursuits from photography, to stained glass, painting, drawing, singing, and writing. She’s a renaissance woman and loves to learn new things and solve a good mystery. Jennifer is currently doing her research of doctoral programs to continue her education in the field of mental health.

I began my career in mental health, after feeling an intense calling to help people in this area. I found myself always searching for my next mission. The Lord led me to help in crisis intervention for children and teens, then to continue my graduate program as I supported students who would be the first generation to go to college, and before coming to Chaddock, standing on the front lines helping those addicted to drugs and alcohol into long term recovery in the face of a growing addiction crisis.

I was taught at an early age to look for signs of God all around, and I would find my path; and this has led me to the mission here at Chaddock.

Initially, I’m sure I sounded like a broken record as I exclaimed upon how peaceful this organization felt. As I settled into the mission in Outpatient Services and through my transition over to the school I’ve been surprised and in awe each day as I watch our team coordinate their efforts to hold our residential and community-based students in safety and care as we support their learning and healing.

When people learn that I’m a therapist in the Chaddock high school, they usually say things like, “Oh wow, that’s a job you have there,” or, “those kids can be intense.” Every instance like this I’m taken aback, then I start to share how our kids are given the chance to bloom under our treatment model. When our kids feel the love and acceptance we have for them, paired with our structure and engagement, they take the challenge and daily I’m given signs from God that what we do here works.

Our kids are healing, and even when it’s been a particularly challenging day and it may be difficult to see, I can see it. It’s my mission to share how each moment the team spends guiding our kiddos is well spent and accumulates to a tangible change in the students lives that keeps them moving forward.

So, at the end of each day, I feel honored to create safe therapy space for my kiddos here at the school, and share with them that they have a whole team of people working for their good.

Editorial Note:

Working in a partnership of ministry with The United Methodist Church, Chaddock strives to make decisions and guide our organizations in ways that honor God, and show respect for our neighbors, our environment and ourselves. Our residential students are all offered the opportunity to attend Chapel once a week and have access to our Chaplain, Kyle Frink, when they need or request it.

As an organization we strive to honor each person’s individual beliefs, culture, background and diversity. We see these core aspects as strengths and seek to support each and every person in their journeys.