"The DAY Program is a little known treasure…a jewel in Shelby County's Crown."
-John Miller, Chief Probation Officer of Shelby County
"The DAY Program reaches out to all children in our community…with a special type of education and care."
"For the first time, our son is achieving in his classes and overcoming his frustration and anger at being unable to keep up…he has never had a group so supportive and dedicated."
By most accounts Ellen was a happy, well-adjusted child. In the Sixth grade she was high achieving, had many friends and seemed to be well on her way to a bright future. And then, through no fault of her own, everything solid in her life changed for the worst. Ellen’s father announced he was leaving the family to start his life over.
In Ellen’s own words, at this point she did not care if she lived or died. She was much too young to comprehend what was happening or why it had nothing to do with her.
Ellen started partying on the weekends, hanging out with “kids” who seemed to be hurting as much as she was, and the last thing she thought about was doing well in school. When telling her story, Ellen says he left “us” - meaning in her own childlike way, that she was worried about herself and about her mother and how they were going to survive.
In an effort to cope and perhaps to dull her thoughts, Ellen began smoking pot and to experiment with other stronger drugs. She also determined her lifestyle would become that of an alternative nature. Her appearance and demeanor changed.
School was not a challenging or exciting place for Ellen. In fact, it became a place to endure; former educators in her life recall her downward transformation as rapid, sad, and heartbreaking for a young lady with so much promise.
Having failed the better part of two years in school, still making dangerous choices and poor decisions, and still hurting and searching for answers, Ellen came to the Day Program to heal and catch up. She had many bad habits to break.
Ellen arrived academically somewhat prepared yet emotionally weak. She surrounded herself with people still making poor life choices. A close personal friend overdosed not long after Ellen arrived at the Day Program, setting her back emotionally even further. Ellen struggled with the choice of moving forward or staying in the same dangerous rut. Gradually, Ellen began to make smarter choices, to have better attendance, and to excel as a student leader. She listened more to her counselors and teachers and less to other students and friends. Ellen stated toward the end of the year that she knew the staff at the Day Program cared about her, her successes, and her future.
Ellen completed the Day Program receiving one of its highest awards at Honors Day. She plans to complete her education and to attend college. Ellen acknowledges that she would likely still be using drugs and making poor life choices were it not for the care, compassion, and understanding that she experienced while at the Day Program. When asked about the program, Ellen states that one of the things that made her stay successful was being accepted as she was. No one judged her and people loved her and believed in her for who she was.
To become the premier alternative educational and clinical services program
for at-risk youth in Shelby County, Alabama, by providing a pathway for success.