At the ChildBridge Center for Education, Katie is known as the “mother hen” of the school. Whether it is a staff member, classmate or the administrators, Katie always makes sure to check in on how people are doing and is quick to hand out handmade cards to let people know she is thinking about them and cares.

“Katie is one of the most giving people. She wants to know how you are doing, how your family is doing, it is part of her routine,” said Phil Siegel, principal of the ChildBridge Center. “If all of us could see fit to give the way Katie gives, we would live in a wonderful world.”

Like almost every student at the school, Katie had some challenges to overcome before she settled into her role as “mother hen.” When she first came, she was often very needy and had a difficult time communicating her needs and wants. But it was in the writing — that she has developed to the point of making those thoughtful cards — where she found the solutions to her problem.

Writing opened up her communication in small things like emails to her dad and in big things like a grief journal she has started to keep after a family loss. Her work with the different school therapists have also improved her skills in communicating and now she is one of the warmest students and comfortable expressing her care and concern for others.

Jessica Kingji, school administrator, said Katie’s communication skills and relationship skills are some of the most impressive she has seen. Though there can be turnover in the staff at the school, Katie can still recall each teacher who taught her each skill and has a genuine appreciation for each person who has helped her.

“She can talk about the people used to work here and not got get upset about the fact they are gone, but she does it in an optimistic way,” Jessica said. “She even stays in touch with some of them and former classmates as pen pals. We never know when our influence will end, and for Katie, it really stays with her.”