As a child Daniel* suffered significant abuse in his home. DSS removed him from the physical dangers at home, but unfortunately for the last decade placement after placement failed as he struggled to develop into his teen years. The instability created by his frequent moves and his inability to build meaningful bonds with adults and peers created a downward cycle of despair.
Daniel arrived at Epworth last year far behind his peers developmentally. He was in high school but struggling to move beyond the 9th grade for the third time. He was self-conscious, very quiet and reluctant to show his emotions. He had no motivation and no direction in life.
After moving to campus, the Epworth staff evaluated his history and created a comprehensive care plan for him—just like every other child in Epworth’s care. It was determined that in addition to this trauma, Daniel also struggles with a developmental delay. His struggles in school were jeopardizing his ability to complete high school and his emotional struggles were preventing him from developing the skills he would need as an adult. His care plan included the extra therapy sessions, tutoring sessions, and one-on-one staff interaction that he needed to break the cycle.
By the springtime, Daniel was showing signs of progress. His schoolwork improved and he finally completed all of the 9th grade coursework he needed. He developed friendships in the cottage and became “one of the guys.”
With his success at school, he was offered a summer job in the Epworth dining room. He was hired to prep, serve, and clean but he was doing so well that by the end of summer he was allowed to help cook, too. One week, he even got the honor of making and serving Epworth’s famous Peanut Butter Ice Cream to a group of guests. He developed a passion for his job and by the end of summer, he told the dining hall staff that he was going finish school and then be a chef one day. It was the first time he talked with excitement about his future.
Daniel’s stay at Epworth is transforming his life. He continues to process his past but for the first time in his life he is making plans for the future. His development of life skills and academic advancement is giving him the tools he will need to break the cycle of abuse and neglect.