Soon-to-be 16-year-old Conlan struggled with challenging family dynamics and experiences for most of his life. After making some poor decisions, he arrived at Rawhide in March 2023 and knew he had to change. “I’ve been to residentials before, but this was different,” he shared.

Conlan became determined to focus on his future and what he needed to do to accomplish his goals. “I see a future for myself, and I want to stick to that,” said Conlan. “No person can find a purpose through one day of trying; it takes a lot of work.”

When asked about his favorite part of Rawhide, he’s grateful for the opportunities to learn skills and proper life lessons. “I’ve definitely learned more and grown as a person,” he said. To date, Conlan has completed Rawhide’s automotive and welding job training programs and is eager to start the culinary program. “When you learn here, it’s a lot easier to not make the same mistake outside of Rawhide.”

Conlan also participates in equine therapy and appreciates the unique perspective it offers. “With equine therapy, you’re not just in an office; you’re in an open space where there are animals that you connect with and have open feelings,” he shared. “Once you realize [horses] don’t have the intent to hurt you, you realize they’re just like us: eat, sleep, wake up, and repeat.”

His future includes going into the welding industry, specifically working on cars, semis, and dirt bikes. “I want to start a welding job somewhere in Europe or the Caribbean. Then, I want to come back and do behavioral counseling for people in need and who have had similar issues as me,” said Conlan. “Even after I retire, I still want to help people.”

Conlan’s message to donors: “Thank you for the opportunity to give me and all these kids a chance to accomplish anything.”