If you've ever seen my daughter Calista's art, I'm sure you can tell just by looking at it how passionate she is about it. Calista has poured herself into her art and developed her skills and talent, enough so that she’s done a few art shows. The response she has received has been wonderfully encouraging, and she wants to do more art shows, but it’s not at all simple for her.
Calista suffers from a severe anxiety disorder which makes social interactions extremely challenging for her. It has profoundly affected my daughter’s life and plans for the future. Public school was so traumatic for her, we decided she’d be better served by homeschooling. We pulled her out of school at age 9 and have homeschooled her through high school. Calista would like to pursue her studies of art in college, but as one might imagine, online schools aren't the best option for an art student.
My girl is a fighter and has
come so far in handling her disability without the use of pharmaceuticals. Instead, she’s found coping skills: through sheer determination, therapy, and controlling her environment, Calista has managed her anxiety disorder admirably, but it's time for her to get out into the world more and become more independent. To do that, Calista will need some back-up, in the form of a service dog.
There's a lot of confusion about service dogs, due to people abusing the system so that they can take their pets with them everywhere.
My daughter doesn't need another pet, she needs a trained dog that can perform tasks such as helping her find an exit when needed during a panic attack, providing deep pressure therapy, helping her find our car or the person she is with, interrupting her anxious habits and helping her navigate out of a crowd to a quiet area, and other tasks to help her with her disability.
For Calista, a service dog equals her independence.
This is so important to Calista that she’s researched service dogs an
d started saving for one. Service dogs generally cost $18,000-$40,000, a goal out of our reach. My daughter is doing everything possible to lower the cost of service training. The connections she’s developed through her extensive research have allowed us to bring this number down substantially, to an initial goal of only $5500!
Calista has almost $1000 saved up, but this is not enough for her to accomplish her goal. She's very independent, but a fact of life is sometimes we need help!
I am so proud of my daughter: I’m proud of how hard she fights, and I’m proud of how much time she devotes to research, educating herself, and finding and developing coping skills. A service dog would be a tremendous help in her battle. My hope is that, with the service dog, Calista will be able to rise above her anxiety and stride confi
dently into her future, pursuing her goals and dreams.
How you can help:
Donate to Calista’s GoFundMe account
Share this post far and wide!
We thank you so very much for any support you are able to give. Every dollar adds up and every share helps us reach more people. <3
See more of Calista's art on instagram @turtle.melon
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