Nathan arrived at Epworth around Christmas bringing with him anger and hurt. Nathan was often left at home without adult care, nurturing, or supervision. Because of this, Nathan learned to find his own way in the world and make his own rules, losing the opportunity to be a little boy.
When he arrived at Epworth, Nathan had a difficult time hearing the word “no,” and would become very agitated with the staff, resulting in regular meltdowns or outbursts in the cottage. Nathan was also never taught to eat healthy foods or encouraged to participate in physical activities outside. He was severely overweight for his age, with no knowledge of nutrition, and no desire or motivation to play with others. When asked to play a game outside he would sit on the ground and shut down; he had no interest in childish games.
It took small steps of encouragement and patience, routine and responsibility, but six months later Nathan is like a different person. He loves to play outside. He wants to try every new game or activity and now has the energy that one might expect from a ten year old. He may still like to eat fast food occasionally, but now understands that he will not feel good if that is all he eats. He is bright and funny, and makes sure the staff sees that he is working to be healthy. He will point out “I’ve lost ten pounds… Don’t I look good?” The staff continues to affirm his new found sense of self worth and positive self-image. They want him to be proud of himself, and with each passing day he shows more and more signs of confidence.
Nathan’s story is one of both physical and emotional transformation. In his brief stay at Epworth he has uncovered the little boy inside of him. Instead of using his sharp mind to try and manipulate his caretakers into what he wants, he uses his imagination to make up a game, and teaches his friends to play too. Instead of shutting down completely when he is told no, he now asks why, and seeks out compromise, or accepts that the answer is no. Instead of isolating himself from his peers, he can be found playing soccer or basketball outside with his friends. Nathan is learning how to live in community with others and to be the best version of himself. He is lively and energetic, and working with the staff to try new things, manage his anger, and maintain a positive view of himself.