"Shine Like Stars In The World" Philippians 2:15
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Glen Dale client becomes first high school grad in her family


Laura came to Sunrise last year for issues of defiance, aggression, self-harm and substance abuse. She has an extensive history of severe trauma including physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, abandonment, and witnessing parental substance abuse in the home. Her life goal then was “to age out and go to jail.” When asked why, she explained “everybody in my family is in jail; that’s just what you do.”  

But despite a rocky start, Laura began to turn a corner. When she decided that she could indeed have a different future for herself, she worked extremely hard. Despite several setbacks, including the re-incarceration of several family members, the homicide of a close relative, and a recent terminal diagnosis for her grandmother, Laura continued on her path to success.

In May 2017, at the age of 16, Laura received her high school diploma. She spent the day with her Sunrise therapist and the program nurse getting her hair and makeup done and being treated to lunch. Following her day of pampering, both Sunrise staff and peers were able to join her at her graduation ceremony. The teachers who were unwavering in their encouragement, the church volunteers that helped guide her, her younger brother, and a cousin attended as well.

A second celebration was held at Sunrise’s Glen Dale Center so the residents could celebrate her accomplishment and witness that it is possible to overcome abuse and trauma.

Laura now holds the honorable distinction of becoming the very first high school graduate in her family. Her life goal has changed drastically as she now has plans to become a therapist. Laura is set to graduate Sunrise’s program very soon and will then enter either independent living or foster care while planning to attend college this fall.

Sunrise team members are extremely proud of her hard work and excited to see what the future brings for this resilient young lady!

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