At age 14, Noah* was diagnosed with skin cancer. After two surgeries and six months of chemotherapy, Noah described himself as very depressed. He began smoking marijuana. He was living with his mom at the time. "My mom introduced me to meth," Noah calmly shared. He also wasn't going to school. "I was supposed to get home-schooled, but I never did." Instead, he was selling meth for his mother. Eventually, he received treatment for his drug addiction and arrived at Sunrise's Cumberland Adventure Program (CAP) in December 2017.
As he arrived at Sunrise's residential treatment center in Bronston, he had no idea what to expect, and it was a bit of a shock: "They told me all the rules—this and that—and it was just overwhelming; I wanted no part of it." And, of course, school would be a challenge. "I was way behind in school," he said. "Twenty-two credits from zero seemed like a mission."
But after going AWOL from the residential center—twice—something changed. "I don't really know what clicked," Noah explained. "When I came to CAP, I thought of the bad side of everything. But with my time here, that's changed. I'm doing more to better myself—to set myself up for success."
One way he bettered himself was graduating high school. In fact, it took Noah just five months to obtain the twenty-two credits he needed to earn his diploma. "I did what I had to do," he said. "Once I got started, I was like, okay, I can do this." The more he shared, the more he sounded like the Little Engine that Could: "I just kept going and kept going. And the next thing I knew, I was graduated!"
Today, Noah is 17 years old, his cancer is in remission, and he no longer uses drugs. And he is hoping to land a railroad job soon, which is part of his broader plan to get himself through college and eventually become an auto mechanic. It's full steam ahead as he makes plans to leave CAP and venture out into the world as an independent young man.
Through God's grace, Sunrise has helped Noah get on the right track. Through your prayers and your support, Sunrise can continue to do the same for even more young people throughout this Commonwealth.
*Name has been changed to protect the identity of individual.