Jessica Uses Her Heart, Not Her Hands, to Fight for a New Life

Jessica* came to Sunrise’s Glen Dale Center in Elizabethtown from another residential facility in March of 2018. While in her former placement, she assaulted staff and other resident clients. After readingJessica’s referral, the Sunrise team at Glen Dale knew there was more to this child than just an angry girl. There were many positives on her referral, and the Sunrise team believed they had to give her a chance.

Program Director Marissa Walker requested to visit with Jessica to see if she would be a good fit for Glen Dale and if she would agree to no violence. When Marissa met with her, Jessica at first had her guard up and would barely talk. But after about 10 minutes she gave a big smile, and she and Marissa sat and talked for two hours. They discussed the program, the amenities at Glen Dale Center, and the expectations.

Jessica was definitely a great fit for Glen Dale. She came to Glen Dale two days after Marissa met with her.

Jessica was definitely a challenge. She was stubborn, angry, and hard to talk with at times, but she did agree to no violence. She made a promise to Marissa that she would not put her hands on anyone. Jessica quickly showed to the other girls who lived at Glen Dale as well as to the Sunrise team that she was a natural born leader and had a heart the size of the building. She was kind to the kids who struggled to make friends. She would volunteer to help with extra chores.

Jessica was resistant to therapy at first, but once she engaged in therapy, she blossomed. She outshined the negative things that were reported on her referral when she came to Sunrise. She proved to the Sunrise team that children with troubled pasts can blossom with the right structure, love, patience and kindness – a kindness that many children rarely experience in a residential setting.

Jessica completed the program in four and a half months and held true to her word of no violence. She never physically harmed anyone while at Glen Dale, and she is currently residing in a foster home.

To this day, she has yet to have one physical outburst in the community or foster home. Jessica was a true example of beating the odds, breaking the cycle, and the benefits of hard work. She was a true blessing to Glen Dale and touched the hearts of many Sunrise team members and the girls who live there

Jake Pelfrey