Sunrise Goes the Extra Mile for Corey

Coreywas struggling in his foster home. Because of his disruptive behavior, defiance, drug usage, and other poor choices, staying in his current situation was no longer an option. The 16-year-old thought he would be returning to his mom. That’s what he was told. But because of concern that he would reconnect with his old friends and continue his pattern of running away from home, he was instead taken to Sunrise’s Spring Meadows Center. This was a big shock for Corey.“I think his mentality, because of that, was ‘Well, whenever I’m here, if I have to be here, I’ll do whatever I have to do and get it over with,’ shared Amanda Bradford, Sunrise Residential Therapist at Spring Meadows Center. “But I think, if you were to ask him now, he would be able to say, ‘No, I came here for a reason.’”It would take Corey seven months at Spring Meadows to discover that reason, but through weekly individual and group therapy, and through participation in a new substance abuse group, he eventually found the right path and direction for his life.  Corey’s goal now is to graduate high school and attend the University of Louisville to become an immigration attorney. “His attitude has changed a lot,” Amanda said. “He’s a good kid.”

However, Corey’s growth did not come without a setback along the way. He once failed a drug test after coming back from a home pass. “Since then, he’s been clean the whole time,” stated Sunrise’s Spring Meadows Center Case Manager Josh Wamble.

But that setback actually led the Sunrise team to do more. “When Corey was on his home pass, he reconnected with some of his older friends that he had been with before,” said Josh. “So we were thinking, how can we help him be successful once he leaves here?” Josh had a plan.

One afternoon after summer school, Josh took Corey for a ride, driving him around the neighborhood where Corey’s mom lives, looking for places that might be a good fit for him to work. They found a Kroger. “And so we walked in, and somehow we got connected to the HR director,” said Josh. “So we followed her around and she actually asked Corey some questions; then she passed him off to the hiring manager, and he did an interview with him.” After a third interview the following week, and after completing all of the paperwork, Corey was offered a job as a bagger. In fact, the day that Corey is scheduled to be discharged at Spring Meadows Center will be his first day on the job!

This extra help provided by the Sunrise team was not unnoticed by Corey. “Sunrise opened an opportunity for me,” he said, smiling. And this help may continue. Corey could potentially need rides to Kroger’s corporate training center. Josh told him that wouldn’t be a problem. “We’ll send someone to drive him out there for that training, even though he’s not really in our care anymore,” Josh said.

Josh is hopeful that the help the Sunrise team provided Corey in finding a job can be repeated with other young men at Spring Meadows Center. “We’re hoping that this will be a pilot project, and we can even find ways to be helpful to others in the future,” shared Josh. “We even talked about once the kids get on the higher phases of our program, we try to get them to work while they’re still here, connecting them with the Kroger in Mt. Washington, and having them work there. That way they can transfer to the Kroger in their home town after they get discharged.”

So why did Sunrise choose Corey for this pilot program? “Well, he’s trustworthy. And there’s greatness in him,” said Amanda. “And he verbalizes these really cool goals – like wanting to be a lawyer and help immigrants some day. He wants to give back to the community. So if we’re a ministry, then this is a kid that has that same value, and wants to give back, so now we need to support him in carrying this through.”

Sunrise will continue to go the extra mile for Corey because we see Corey’s potential; we believe in him, and quite frankly, this is our calling. When you support Sunrise through your gifts and prayers, you are supporting young men and women like Corey and are helping them receive therapeutic treatment and care they so desperately need. Don’t give up on Corey. And don’t give up on Sunrise. We are resolved, through God’s grace, to go that extra mile for all Kentucky children in our care.

*Name changed to protect the identity of individual.

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

Kait Flora