Elijah is an incredibly bright young man with loads of potential. He was also a student that got left behind in a traditional school setting. While he struggled in middle school, he was quiet enough that no one noticed. By high school he was skipping school regularly and eventually dropped out, spending his days sleeping and playing video games. Before coming to SISU, he bounced around other programs with little success. However, with mounting pressure from his mom, he decided to try YouthBuild. At first, he showed little interest, rarely attended and when he did, he tended to be disengaged. Over time and through the persistence of his teacher, he began to open up. It was little things at first, like casually mentioning he liked a particular artist or voluntarily participating in programs. This progressed to coming in every day, asking for help or talking about his family. Since first starting at SISU, Elijah has made huge strides. He found a part-time job, will be taking his permit exam, has saved up money to buy a car and will be taking his first HiSET exam in October. Every day he comes to SISU ready to reach another goal. Looking towards his future, he is planning to enroll in a two-year nursing program. With a clear mind and solid direction, Elijah is in a position to take a massive leap in his life transitioning from a lost boy into a flourishing young man. Zoe’s life lacked stability from early on. Growing up with a single-mom and constantly being evicted from their apartments, Zoe had a rough time assimilating to new schools and surroundings. At age 13, she was removed from her home in the middle of the night and placed into DCF custody. She felt helpless, lost and angry. During her five years in the system, her anger grew with each of the 13 different foster/group homes she was placed in. With her volatile living situation, Zoe fell behind in school, and with every new placement, it only got worse. Being labeled the bad kid overshadowed her attempts to improve her behavior and academics and she lashed out more. After several run ins with the law, Zoe realized she needed help to steer her life back on track and found her way to the SWAG program at the SISU Center. With support from the SISU team, Zoe went back to high school full time and graduated last spring. She has begun the difficult task of confronting her trauma, specifically, the anger issues that led her down a path of self-destruction. She is now focused on balancing a job and college and is paying out of pocket to attend NECC. Zoe plans to become a juvenile attorney to help young people like herself have more autonomy in their lives. LAWRENCE PROSPERA FY’2018–2019 ANNUAL REPORT PAGE 6

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