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Rockin’ It! One brave girl faces fears to change her life

Throughout her childhood, Kelly* was always a pretty timid kid and wasn’t much for trying new things. In fact, Kelly could usually be found with her head in a book – her favorites were mystery and adventure stories.

As a result of her shyness, lack of self-confidence and an ever-growing anxiety that seemed to follow her around, Kelly struggled to make friends. A deep loneliness grew inside her as she watched her peers laugh and play together. These feelings were amplified by her home life, where she lived with a distant father who always seemed too busy to pay any attention to her. Yes, she was fed regularly and provided the basic necessities, but so much was still missing – love, comfort, companionship, guidance, laughter…

By the time Kelly was 15, this lonely life had taken its toll and Kelly was diagnosed with Depression and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Fortunately she found Excelsior’s Community-Based Services. After many sessions spent working on self-esteem and anxiety-reducing coping strategies, along with intensive family therapy to improve her relationship with her dad, her therapist discovered something. Not only was Kelly lonely, anxious and depressed, but she was also terrified of trying new things.

Knowing that lessening this fear would benefit many other aspects of Kelly’s life, her therapist slowly began introducing new things. She started small by asking Kelly to take a break from her book and draw for a while, then gradually upped the ante. Soon, Kelly had been in a swimming pool (her first time!) and had even gone on a short hike in the foothills. After many sessions like this and much cajoling by her therapist, Kelly even agreed to try rock climbing!

And that was the key – rock climbing! This new experience helped pull Kelly out of her introverted, lonely and fearful life. Granted it took a few tries to get her off the ground, but when she did…wow…the look on her face said it all – she was hooked! After that, trying new things wasn’t such a big deal. In fact, she’s eager to try all types of new things now, but rock climbing is still her favorite.

*Name has been changed for confidentiality and safety reasons.


­­­­­­This summer, we’re striving to give all of our kids an opportunity to try new things and experience classic Colorado adventures like rock climbing, visiting the Denver Zoo or Rocky Mountain National Park.

Many Excelsior youth and families have never had a chance to experience these things – giving today gives them an opportunity to explore Colorado and make their own memories!

Will you help us give our kids a Colorado Summer to Remember? Donate Today!

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