Waterford – Isabella “Izzy” Bass-Wright has gone through an incredible amount of transitions over the past four years and now she’s facing another transition: graduating from high school.
Bass-Wright, 18, is a Waterford High School senior who was placed in the foster care system when he was 14. Now in her third foster home and high school, she feels good where she is, advocating for mental health awareness even as she struggles with herself.
She entered the foster care system after family issues led to her being removed, alongside two of her siblings, from her mother, from a household of nine children. Before landing here, she went to different shelters and residences, moving from school to school. She said it was “difficult because it involved meeting new people every time, but you sort of get used to it”.
Bass-Wright said she suffered from anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.
“They don’t disappear overnight,” she said. “Once you get them out, you prepare for them to come back.”
“Isabella Bass-Wright is the definition of resilience,” said her school counselor, Jason Alder. Moving into the school district for its senior year, Bass-Wright has achieved tremendous growth and impact in one year, he said.
“Because of her own mental issues and because she’s been so mature, she’s able to give to other people struggling with mental health issues,” Alder said. He said he might be biased, but he thinks Bass-Wright would do good in his field, especially helping young people who don’t speak out verbally about their issues.
Due to the mental health issues she faced, Bass-Wright said she never knew how long she would stay in one place, or if her adoptive parents would step in to help her in the right way. She said she was in one of the best placements and was reunited with her 16-year-old brother in the same house.
Bass-Wright said her adoptive fathers, David Sanz-Rovira and Byron Tilley-Rovira, are very kind and caring. “They really dedicated their time to taking care of us, making us happy and spending time with us,” she said.
In honor of May, Mental Health Awareness Month, Bass-Wright was selected by a school social worker to place posters throughout the school with phrases such as: “You have the right to be proud of yourself”, “It’s okay to ask for help” and “Mental health matters”.
“I liked helping to lift people’s spirits,” Bass-Wright said. “And also raise awareness and let people know they’re not alone, so they’re not afraid to ask for help.”
Bass-Wright also expressed concern about the “drying up” of mental health resources for children in the foster care system, seeing fewer safe homes with therapy. Bass-Wright said safe homes with therapy helped her find safe housing and therapy while finding a placement that would work best for her.
“Going through therapy with the family you’re placed with is really helpful for them to know how to help you and to learn how to interact with the family,” she said.
While at Waterford High, Bass-Wright also proved prolific in the field of art, one of her favorite pursuits. Her art teacher Shelly Concascia said Bass-Wright made a name for herself during her short time at school, adding that she had a quiet but outgoing personality and her sense of humor shines through.
“His creative spirit never ceases to amaze me and his attention to detail in his works is truly amazing,” Concascia said. “I love seeing her ideas pick up speed and snowball into her beautifully developed projects. She will take any ordinary subject matter and find a way to make it personally meaningful, creative and unique.”
Bass-Wright says she has always loved art. “Art therapy is best because it’s easier to talk when your hands are moving and doing something else,” she said.
As for her future, Bass-Wright said she wants to work with children in kindergarten through second grade. She said she helped raise her sister’s children and loved children, finding them fun to be around.
Now that she’s 18, Bass-Wright can opt out of the foster care system at any time, but she’s decided to stay for the wide variety of support programs and services, such as help paying for college. college, offered to foster children in the state. . She has so far been accepted to Mitchell College in New London and Eastern Connecticut State University in Windham.
However, Bass-Wright, a highly honored student, doesn’t yet know whether she’ll go to college or go straight into the workforce. She said what makes the decision difficult is class sizes and public speaking.
“My anxiety can get in the way of classes and speaking in front of people,” she said.
Whether or not college works, Bass-Wright said she’s sure she’ll find a job that’s a good fit for her.