Paul likes race cars and playing with computers. He loves math at school and when he can stay in his seat is what his friend Bill calls “the teacher’s pet.” He has brown eyes that dance when he talks about going to a Panthers game last fall with his mentor Jim. And all Paul wants is to be with his family and for everybody to get along. But that has been really hard lately. It seems like ever since Paul’s dad lost his job that his parents and sister are either yelling at each other or no one will talk.

Paul like his dad has a quick temper was quick and he gets easily frustrated. And sometimes he felt so sad and alone that his heart felt like a rock. Paul came to Alexander Youth Network after trying to kill himself by jumping out of a second story window. Paul was 9 years old.

Like 1 in 10 children Paul suffers from a mental health issue, in his case bi-polar disease which both his dad and granddad have as well. His behaviors and illness got out of control because his home life was often chaotic. Paul believed he was just a “bad” child.  While Paul was in Alexander’s psychiatric residential program, Paul received an accurate assessment of his emotional challenges while benefitting from individual therapy and in-school day treatment that allowed him to stay on grade level while healing.

Thanks to a generous grant from Speedway Charities, Paul was soon able to move quickly back to his family and continue his progress in Alexander’s Intensive-In-Home program. When he learned that he was well enough to return, you could hear the pride and excitement in Paul’s voice as he told, his therapist Stephanie and everyone within earshot on campus, “I’m going to be with my family! I’m going to be with my FAMILY!”

In Alexander’s home based programs, our clinical team met with Paul’s family three times a week for the first month in order to help Paul and his family better understand his illness and learn ways to develop their strength as a family. During these 2-hour session Paul and his family began to better understand his disease and each other. They learned practical ways of working as a team to help Paul heal. Working with the entire family instead of just the child helps healing to take root, allows new ways of parenting and relating to be cultivated, practiced and adopted by families and sets not only children like Paul up but the entire family up to have long lasting success.

Without the support of Speedway, a child like Paul would be treated in isolation – away from the support of a loving family. At Alexander, we believe families are the fabric of a child’s future and the agency is so very grateful for the longtime commitment of Speedway Charities to helping the agency meet its mission to provide positive changes for children.

Paul is now living with his family, receiving IIH services and attending a regular school. He still struggles at times but he is growing into a healthy young boy. When asked what it Alexander has meant to him, Paul said it was the place he where he felt safe and not so alone – a place where he made friends.