Caring for Malachi

“There are only four words I want someone to say. And I know it’s not going to be today, but I hope soon: ‘You are going home,’” said Malachi*, an eight-year-old boy currently living at Sunrise’s Woodlawn Center, Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facility (PRTF) in Danville. Although he longs to be home, and though his short stay so far may feel to him like an eternity, the Sunrise team knows he’s in a safe place, getting the care he needs.

Before coming to PRTF, Malachi spent many hours of most nights living and playing on the streets after sneaking out his bedroom window at dark. As a result, he would return home tired and sleepy. Too sleepy to perform household chores. Too sleepy, even at times, to attend school.

So while at Woodlawn Center, Malachi is getting used to a more structured environment. He described a typical morning at PRTF: “I wake up and make my bed. I change. I sit in my chair. I watch videos. Then we go to school and do journals.”

Malachi was able to share quite honestly why he came to Sunrise. “Sometimes I lie,” he stated. “And sometimes I refuse chores because I’m too sleepy.”

But very quickly the Sunrise team at Woodlawn has begun to make a difference in this young man’s life. “I’ve learned how to be responsible and respectful and make up goals that we work on,” shared Malachi. “My goal right now is taking responsibility for my actions.”

But as an eight year old, Malachi also enjoys being a kid. “I like board games and little video games too,” he said. “And sometimes I like reading.” He also enjoys watching his favorite team, the Golden State Warriors, play basketball; and he cheers for the Seattle Seahawks during football season. His favorite superheroes are Black Panther, Iron Man, and Thor.

He also likes to draw and paint. “You see my initials right there?” he asked, pointing behind him. “That’s my painting.” He was proud to show off his latest work.

But there is something else he is proud of. When asked what he would like to say to those at Sunrise who have helped him, he shared this: “I appreciate it a lot. And I’m proud that they helped me.”

“Fortunately for this young man, he will be able to be reunified with his family; but many of the youth we serve don’t have that promise,” said Lena Kline, Sunrise Program Director at Woodlawn Center, PRTF.  “Most of the boys at Sunrise’s PRTF don’t actually have a home to go back to due to abuse, neglect, or abandonment. That is why Sunrise’s foster care program is also such a blessing. It provides children with hope that they will have a safe home someday. Our commitment is to do everything we can to help provide all services needed for youth to have a home and opportunities to grow and heal.”

Your support to Sunrise makes this goal possible – not just for Malachi, but for all the children and families we serve. Thank you for caring for our Sunrise kids. Thank you for praying for this ministry. Thank you for your continued support.

*Name changed to protect the identity of the individual.

Written by David Lyninger, Sunrise Children’s Services Associate Director of Communications

Jake Pelfrey