By Erin Levine, Clinical Admissions Director
Every Friday evening when I am winding down my week, I take some time to view the slideshow of pictures that catalogs the activities the students participated in that week. I scroll through hundreds of pictures of busy and smiling faces in the different camps, at different phases of treatment and at multiple locations throughout the Big Island. I really enjoy looking at the pictures each week, it’s a great way for me to unwind as well as a reminder of the beautiful stories unfolding at Pacific Quest every day. I often talk about these pictures to the families who are in the process of sending one of their loved ones to Pacific Quest. It is easy for me to be encouraging in the face of fear and doubt because I know that in a couple of weeks they will be viewing pictures of their son or daughter fully engaged in an activity with an ear to ear smile and a look of accomplishment that is unmistakable. I talk to so many families that are
discouraged and unable to comprehend a time when things will be better and I am always able to see the pictures in my mind’s eye, they enable me to talk about the changes that transform individuals and families everyday at PQ.
Families participate in a number of activities throughout treatment, but in talking to alumni families they often agree that the pictures kept them going. The pictures not only tell a story about day to day life here at Pacific Quest but also the progression each individual experiences throughout their stay.
The smiling faces I see when the students are swimming in blue waters with giant turtles off of black sand beaches are expected. The look of eager anticipation on their faces when they have a plate full of beautiful food that I know they helped to grow, harvest and prepare is understandable. What really catches me off guard though are the heartwarming pictures of young people with huge smiles and looks of pride carrying a pile of brush or preforming some otherwise basic task. I wonder how they can look so happy and fulfilled doing such a seemingly menial task? But that’s the magic of the gardens. Everything we do has a practical and a therapeutic purpose and outcome. I am just glad it’s captured in photographs, otherwise I may not have believed it myself.