Casey, a 16-year-old from southern Wisconsin, has suffered from mental health issues for most of his childhood. As he tried to manage his social anxiety, Casey found other outlets to help cope with his challenges—leading to a pattern of bad behavior. Arriving at Rawhide in September 2023, Casey was immediately determined to complete his program.

“I used to stick to myself and didn’t like talking to people before Rawhide,” Casey said. “I was forced to get out of my comfort zone and now I’m friends with everyone in my house.”

As he’s learned to manage his social anxiety effectively, Casey realized something that he never knew before. “I am a really friendly person,” said Casey. “If anyone needs to talk, they can come to me … and I enjoy it.”

From volunteering at a local soup kitchen to playing on the All Starrs basketball team, Casey continues to make strides toward being more open and welcoming around others. “Hearing other people’s stories makes me realize how blessed I am,” said Casey. “I have support from my mom and many of the kids here need that type of support system.”

With his strong focus on graduating from Starr Academy, Casey is proud to know he will reach his goal because of his hard work and dedication. As he remembers how far he’s come, Casey has big plans for his future. “After graduation, I want to get a job with my sister managing horse stables, and eventually become a co-owner of my mom’s business in homecare.”

Casey’s helping heart allowed him to overcome his social anxiety and be there for others who needed it most. “Everyone has bad days, so you have to push through it,” Casey shared.

Casey’s message to donors: “Thank you for helping others. Deep down, you don’t know these kids, but you want to continue to help—it’s a godsend.”