Located in Bethlehem, NH, Sovereign Journey is a therapeutic, transitional residential program for young women 17-24 who need help with mood disorders, anxiety, trauma, negative body image, relationship difficulties, and school failure. Sovereign Journey provides an integrated program of creative arts and therapeutic support that focuses on the psychological, emotional and spiritual growth of its students.
Executive Director Dr. Karen Fitzhugh, a psychologist and therapeutic industry expert, has spent over 25 years working with adolescents. Her passion is to inspire young women to discover their personal independence and become productive citizens, and she started Sovereign Journey with that purpose in mind. Karen had been the executive director of a similar school in Vermont that provided visual and therapeutic arts. When that school went bankrupt, she tried to purchase it, but was unsuccessful. This experience, however, was only a minor setback, as it planted the seed in her mind to start her own business, as there was a lack of services available for older adolescents in the area. “It only takes one small, incremental change to make major positive differences over the course of time. That’s what drove me to put together the Sovereign Journey team of people who can inspire and affect that change in the people we work with,” said Dr. Fitzhugh.
In 2011, she took her 401K savings and talked to NCIC about financing the business. NCIC, working with her bank, New Hampshire Small Business Development Center and Grafton County Economic Development Council, assisted her with the prospectus and business plan and provided the funding she needed. “Jon Freeman, whom I know and have worked with for years, and Dave Keenan from NCIC worked by our side to help us meet the requirements for the financing,” said Dr. Fitzhugh. The property was purchased and renovated and staff was hired. The school opened in April 2012.
“What I appreciate about NCIC is that for us to get the financing, they needed to see our passion for this program and that we knew our stuff and believed we could make it happen”, said Karen. ”This is the same message we provide to our young clients: to develop their individual passion and pursuits that will help achieve success in life.”
This approach is clearly working for Sovereign Journey as they are at capacity for enrollment. To learn more about Sovereign Journey, visit www.sovereignjourney.com.