Before coming to Vanderheyden, Christian had been hospitalized twice for his behavior and twice for drug overdoses.

He had lived in a group home at another facility, been in kinship foster care, and in two other foster homes. After thirteen weeks in rehab, he came to Vanderheyden. It felt like the last stop on the line and looking back on that first week, Christian says it was “terrible.” But little by little, things improved. And when a Crandall Boys Group Home staff member took him to a Narcotics Anonymous meeting, the twelve-step program changed his life.

After a few months Christian noticed that he wasn’t as angry anymore. He started to succeed in the Vanderheyden program, moving up in phases. The day a staff member asked him to run an errand felt like a breakthrough for him, as it was the first time someone trusted him. And while “doing the right thing took a while to get used to” he realized the progress he had made and felt proud of his success. He started to make the best of things and graduated from high school with an Advanced Regents Diploma.

Wanting the continued support of the people who had brought him so far, Christian moved into an apartment supported by Vanderheyden’s Independent Living Program. He attends Hudson Valley Community College and is enjoying taking a wide range of classes. 

Christian is optimistic about the future. “I never thought I would make it to the age of 18, let alone graduate from high school and go to college,” he says. With the continued help and support staff at Vanderheyden, Christian undoubtedly has a bright future.


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