Ellen Pierce, Class of 2012

When Ellen was just 10 months old, her mother dropped her off at a daycare and never came back. Soon after, the daycare owners, a married couple Ms. Bea and Mr. Hop, formed a special bond with Ellen and later legally adopted her.

Ellen instantly fell in love with Ms. Bea and Mr. Hop, but there were many adjustments. Kids teased Ellen’s hand-me-down clothes and mocked her non-traditional family, but she never wavered saying, “My maturity level was greater– my peers seemed immature.”

Ellen came to CATS in 2012 for an opportunity to earn school credits. She figured the program would be “super lame” but quickly realized it was more than she imagined.

Ellen likes to say that she “came for a quarter and stayed a year” and, under Ms. Jamie’s mentorship, discovered she had a passion for ceramics. She learned how to “think out loud” thanks to Ms. Laura and Ms. Deb, which helped her cope with issues at school.

After successfully completing the Art Program, Ellen was accepted into Bridging the Gap, a CATS workforce development program designed to help students succeed beyond high school graduation.

Ellen went on to earn her B.S. in psychology from the University of Cincinnati and she currently works at the Linder Center of Hope as a Mental Health Technician.

“CATS confirmed who I am. It gave me the opportunity to use my gifts and showed me sometimes you have to get out of your comfort zone,” said Ellen. “Ms. Bea always said ‘you can lead a horse to water’ but I didn’t always understand what that meant. Now I do.”