15-year-old Ethan lacked sufficient support and a stable home throughout his life. While residing with a respite care provider, he grappled with anger and a strong desire for belonging. After experiencing unfortunate circumstances, he arrived at Rawhide in December 2023.

At first, he was anxious about this new experience. “I was wondering what was going to happen … what every day was going to be like,” said Ethan. “After talking to people and seeing the other kids, it was better than I expected.”

Since being at Rawhide, Ethan has participated in a variety of activities such as longboarding, playing arcade games in the rec center, volunteering at the local soup kitchen, and most recently attending the career class in our Job Training Program. “I know I’m going to do all the job training courses … I want to become a truck driver”, said Ethan. “I like how I’m able to do things at Rawhide that I like doing for fun.”

What Ethan appreciates the most is the individualized school program at Starr Academy. “At other schools, you have to do a lot of paperwork. But here, it seems more on track with what I need to do. I can focus on earning the right credits and what I need to succeed versus everything else around me,” Ethan shared.

With the motivation to focus on himself, Ethan has made great strides. “I’ve shown a lot of progress and improvement since being at Rawhide,” he said. As he’s discovered more about himself, he’s identified how to better control his emotions and actions. “I’ve learned to not feed into whatever is happening around me. By working on my anger with my therapist, Ms. Tina, I’ve been understanding what my triggers are to help me de-escalate my response. When I get mad, it’s okay. It’s all about the way you react to it.”

Ethan’s message to donors: Thank you for letting us do the things we can do, have the resources we have, and have all the opportunities at Rawhide.