Luke’s dad was blinded in a shooting. His mom’s boyfriend was abusive to Luke and his siblings; then he killed Luke’s mother. By the time Luke turned 7 in August, he had lost his mother, his home and – with the four children split among relatives – his siblings.Just days later, Luke started first grade at a local public school.
There, he began to self-destruct. He tried to jump out of bus windows. He ran into moving traffic. There were signs of self-mutilation. He was hospitalized in an acute care unit twice in a matter of days. Then he was referred to Elk Hill.
Luke’s first week here was rocky. He calmed himself by sucking on a pacifier. He refused to connect with teachers or students; he had no attention span. Just two weeks later, he was a different child. He attended classes through our new Elk Hill elementary program located near the relatives’ home where he was staying. At Elk Hill, Luke found a therapeutic, supportive environment. Finally, he began to feel safe.
Today, Luke has stabilized. He’s doing his schoolwork. He’s actually playing with other children – something almost unimaginable when he came here. With continued progress, he was able to return to his old school in the fall.
And when children like Luke leave Elk Hill, we go with them. Through day treatment in their schools and free summer camp programs, we help children stay on course and eventually become self-sustaining.