Kyle Learns to Make the Right Choices at Sunrise



“My mom said, ‘It’s your choice to be good. It was your choice to get kicked out (of boot camp). It was your choice to act bad the last two times you were (at Sunrise).’ I make my own choices. I feel like a choice can fix the problem.”

These are the words of 16-year-old Kyle*, currently in his third stay at Sunrise’s Woodlawn Center, Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facility (PRTF) in Danville. Like the two times before, it was anger that eventually led him again to Sunrise’s PRTF. “I was at Bluegrass Challenge Academy, a military boot camp,” explained Kyle. “It didn’t go so well. I had seven more weeks, and I failed because of something silly. I got angry, and that’s when I got kicked out.” Once he returned home, the anger continued. “I walked out because I was feeling angry. And then my mom called the police on me because of stuff that I did. And then I went to Sunrise.”

But this third time at Woodlawn Center, PRTF seems to be making a significant impact on Kyle. “I’m more focused on school,” said Kyle. “I’m trying to focus on school work because I want to do something with myself, because my fear is being homeless, and living out on the streets. That’s my fear. I just need to be prepared and focus more.”

Kyle’s perspective has also changed. “Before, I didn’t think I really had a problem,” Kyle admitted. “Now I do. I feel like I really do have a problem. It’s the small stuff that I get upset about. And it’s the small stuff that turns into the big stuff, because I’ve let that small stuff hit me wrong, or get me angry.”

Kyle attributes his change of attitude and focus to the Sunrise team at Woodlawn. “I’ve been thinking a lot and trying to change my ways; and (the Sunrise team) has helped me a lot,” said Kyle. “They say, ‘We want you to succeed more than you do.'” And with the encouragement of the Sunrise team, he is finding success. “It’s practice. And practice makes progress. And it works!” And the Sunrise team has noticed. Kyle shared: “They even say, ‘You’ve gotten a lot better since the last two times you were here.’”

Kyle is now able to focus his attention on his future. He is considering following in his grandfather’s footsteps. “My grandpa was an electrician, plumber, and all that. Technically, he was an all-around carpenter,” stated Kyle. “I’d really like to do that.”

But there is another option: “If that doesn’t work out, I’ll probably do something here (at Woodlawn Center, PRTF),” said Kyle, matter-of-factly. “My mama had always thought about that. And I’ve been thinking about it. And my mom knows I want to be doing something that inspires people.”

Kyle knows exactly what he would say to the boys as a Sunrise team member: “You’re not alone because I’ve been in those seats before you, and I’ve gotten (myself) together. And if I can do it, you guys can do it. Don’t be someone that you’re not. Be you, and think right, and act right. Just focus on you.”

Kyle is now listening to his own words, along with the advice of the Sunrise team . . . and his mother. He is dealing with issues, accepting responsibility, and making better choices. Because of your support and the dedicated Sunrise team at Woodlawn Center, there is no doubt that Kyle’s life will inspire others.

*Name changed to protect the identity of the individual.

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

Kait Flora