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Daughter’s Laughter Brings Mother to Tears: The Youth Center View U Program changes lives

It’s not news that the last several years have been difficult for everyone, especially children. Lately there has not been much to laugh about. One of the families that has utilized The Youth Center’s View U program had emotional turmoil. For the last two years the parents had been missing the laughter they used to hear from their daughter.

“I answer every phone call that comes into the Youth Center, but not often do I hear the parents cry on the other end. My heart dropped as I expected to hear something tragic,” shared Gina Elefante, Administrative Director of The Youth Center. “I sighed with relief when I realized the tears I was hearing were those of joy.”

The Wheaten family shared that their daughter started giggling during dinner for the first time in two years. The giggles turned into full laughter and by the time the night was over, the entire family’s rambunctious laughter was filling the room.

“I didn’t know that the laughter was lost in our home, until she found it again… as we were having the greatest dinner, I realized I hadn’t heard it in so long,” Mrs. Wheaten says.

12-year-old student Stephanie completed The Youth Center’s View U program last week. Mrs. Wheaten signed her daughter up for The Youth Center’s View U group therapy program when she and her husband noticed their daughter was struggling to leave the house. “It seemed like her best friend was her phone,” said Mrs. Wheaten. Through View U’s seven week program, Stephanie was able to learn about the given curriculum around cognitive-behavioral therapy, self-esteem, leadership skills, and so forth. She also developed a strong connection with those in the group and was able to have a safe learning space to develop the social skills she had lost in the past few years. Most importantly, she was able to gain a support system with those around her and identify coping skills she can use when she feels overwhelmed or disconnected in the future.

“I’m so happy to get my daughter back… I cannot thank The Youth Center enough for the gift they gave to my family,” Mrs. Wheaten explains, “the light has returned to her eyes, along with the smile on her face.”

For more information about the program or to register for the View U program, call The Youth Center at (562) 493-4043, visit our website at theyouthcenter.org/view-u/, or email kaylee@theyouthcenter.org.

This article was released by Kaylee Serb for The Youth Center.

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