Alura with Cello
Alura and her cello

Alura is a unique child. She has a very high IQ — in fact, she scores at the genius level! However, because of multiple mental health issues, she had trouble making friends in her 5th grade class. Alura was also recently diagnosed with autism which made her an easy target for classroom bullies. She also struggled with self-esteem and anxiety issues. Alura told her mother that she was picked on from the time she got to school to the last bell, and she begged to be home school.
Alura’s school reached out to Mike King, Eckerd’s Prevention Specialists, to see if she could get more help for her low self-esteem and social skills. Mike accepted her into the Small Groups program of Eckerd’s Hi-Five School-Based Program. Working with Mike King and in small groups, Alura started learning how to make friends and to handle bullies. Still, she had difficulty focusing in class.
It was then discovered that the violin lessons Alura received at school helped her concentrate. Alura said that playing music was relaxing. However, the young girl didn’t like the feel of the violin on her small cheek and chin. Her mental health counselor suggested that the cello may be a better fit. The only issue was getting the cost of lessons covered, since Alura’s family didn’t have the money. That’s where Eckerd Kids and their Success Awards program came in. Success Awards are a special fund that Eckerd Kids staff can use to pay for the costs of extra items, such as music lessons.
With this new, positive outlet Alura is making even more progress despite her mental health barriers. Her self-confidence has blossomed, and she is interacting more with her peers. She and her older sister Rachel have even helped put on an anti-bullying play at their school. Alura is also showing great musical talent!
“Over the last year I have watched Alura’s confidence and self-esteem grow,” says Alura’s mother. “She has gone from the child who would have full blown anxiety attacks at every award ceremony due to stage fright, to a child who not only attended the school’s Valentines dance, but got up in front of everyone for a dance competition!”