Meet Elijah: A Bonnie Brae Success Story
“Without the support and services Bonnie Brae provided our family, our story would be gravely different.”
- Christina, Elijah’s momElijah’s mother and biological father separated when he was a toddler, and his stepfather and mother divorced when he was 13. Unfortunately, his stepfather divorced Elijah and his siblings too. At age seven, Elijah was diagnosed with Type One Diabetes, an autoimmune disorder requiring constant maintenance of one’s blood sugar and insulin. By age 14, Elijah began acting out at school. With nowhere to turn, Elijah’s mom Christina sought help from state services, but from that point until Elijah entered Bonnie Brae, he would run away from home for days without insulin, using drugs and alcohol, entering a juvenile detention center. But all hope for Elijah was not lost yet.
“I did not believe that anyone had the ability to help us. Bonnie Brae would have to contend with a child who struggled with confidence, addiction, abandonment issues, a chronic medical condition, mental health, and family dynamic issues, as well as provide him an education.”
-ChristinaDespite efforts in his first few weeks at Bonnie Brae to charm his way out or to misbehave so badly he got kicked out, Elijah admitted that his “get-out-jail cards didn’t work on the resilient staff at Bonnie Brae.” Exhausting all other options, Elijah decided to “work with the program” and get involved in various groups and activities. Around week eight, his mom noticed a difference in his decision-making—and he even called home to talk to her. “Elijah was given the opportunity to take part in the Brae Builders Program, this was where his confidence blossomed,” said his mom at the 32nd Annual Tartan Ball. Elijah learned valuable lessons from working as a Brae Builder with Morris Habitat for Humanity.
“I could finally see my son emerge from his struggles, not allowing them to define him anymore.”
-ChristinaElijah credits the motivation from staff and counselors saying, “You’re smart, you don’t belong here, you belong at home doing something great,” with getting him “through every single day.”
“The nurses… showed me the importance of my life as well as my health.”
- ElijahElijah’s story is not unlike the stories of other Bonnie Brae youth—man struggle with difficult family histories, addiction, and/or confidence issues. But thanks to the generosity of donors and the dedication of our talented staff, we are able to carry out our mission of “Empowering youth and families to achieve small victories every day through comprehensive care and education.” Learn how you can be a part of success stories like Elijah’s here.