Sophia is a bubbly 7th grader who has a heart of gold and strives to be the best she can be. She attends a therapeutic classroom in the Ankeny Four Oaks school-based program. Four Oaks collaborates with local school districts across the state to create innovative programs to meet the needs of at-risk students. This program has been central to Sophia’s success in school, which has positively rippled outward into other areas of her life. Her mom, Andrea, notes that life hasn’t always been this positive. You see, Sophia has a bipolar disorder that caused a magnitude of challenges such as nearly two years spent in residential treatment, inpatient psychiatric stays, the police being to the house, running away from home, and verbal and physical violence.
No one is to blame – it’s the reality of mental illness. There is no cure; she can only be given tools to help manage her illness. Andrea believes, “The Four Oaks program keeps Sophia safe. This program fosters the brain through schoolwork, but also the soul and the mind, through positive reinforcement and school-based counseling. She loves science, research and learning. She has potential. Because of Four Oaks, kids like Sophia have a chance.”