Sunrise Helps Noah Get on the Right Track

Seventeen-year-old Noah*is hoping to land a railroad job in just a few short months. This 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 Sunrise’s Cumberland Adventure Program (CAP) and venture out into the world as an independent young man. But just like any steam engine, it has taken Noah some time to build up this kind of momentum. He had some tough obstacles to overcome.

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 to pay the bills and supply the addiction.  Eventually, he received treatment for his drug addiction and arrived at CAP in December 2017 beginning a new life path; however, this new track would be a bit bumpy at first.

Noah entered the doors of Sunrise’s residential treatment center in Bronston, having no idea what to expect, and it was quite a shock: “They told me all the rules – this and that – and it was just overwhelming; I wanted no part of it. I didn’t want to be here at all.” 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 had graduated!”

There’s more good news. It appears that he has beaten cancer. “I’ve been in remission for four years,” Noah said with a smile. And the drug addiction? “Yes, I feel like I have beaten that too,” he shared cautiously. “But I feel that being (at CAP) is easy. It’s going to be hard when I get out.” While missing his family and friends back home, he made the very difficult decision to take only one home visit since he has been at Sunrise. “I’ve turned down home visits because I don’t want to go back to the same stuff.”

Noah now has the goal of obtaining things his parents never did, like purchasing a vehicle and getting the job he wants. And he is willing to work for those things. He has chosen to go into a foster home upon completing the program at CAP and then enter into independent living. “This place has definitely helped me see the better side of things, to see what I can do, if I really want to do it,” he said proudly.

Through God’s grace, Sunrise has helped Noah get on the right track. And through your prayers and donations, Sunrise is able to do the same for other young people in its residential treatment centers, foster care and foster-to-adopt families, and family services programs. Thank you for investing in the lives of Kentucky’s children.

*Name has been changed to protect the identity of individual.

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

Jake Pelfrey