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As another school year begins at Little City’s Center for Education, the staff is once again looking to their past success to help them reach breakthroughs with the new students who have many challenges ahead of them.

One student with severe challenges is Evan. Evan’s frustration with daily life can cause him to exhibit aggressive behaviors. He resorts to hitting or biting others as he struggles with the inability to know how to cope. In fact, he finds it very difficult to control many of his behaviors. For example, he loves technology, but even something like tolerating his device being plugged in can be hard for him. He will throw it or break it simply because the battery dies. Little things like that trigger him.

Before he came to live at Little City, Evan was bussed nearly 100 miles each way to attend our school, adding to the stress and anxiety he already suffered from. Things were not going well for Evan.  He is now with us and we can help him, but not without your help.

Despite his destructive behaviors, Evan is not a bad or angry child. Rather, he is a sweet, smart boy who needs the opportunity to learn how to communicate his feelings and manage his emotions. And our school is committed to working with Evan.

We can help children like Evan, but not without your support.

Evan’s path to success will likely look a lot like Johnny’s, who came to Little City in 2016 with similar aggressive behaviors and difficulty coping. The private therapeutic school he came from could no longer help Johnny and told Little City staff he was the most challenging student they ever had.

“Even at 12 years old, Johnny was strong and when he would charge at people it could be dangerous,” said school administrator, Karrie Dean. “When he first came here, we took a hands-off approach. Our staff would go to the gym with him and hold exercise balls and he would run and bounce off them. Staff had to rotate every few minutes.”

But through consistent therapeutic approaches, Johnny has fully transformed into a focused boy who can cope with disappointments or unexpected changes. After needing 1-to-1 supervision since he was 3 years old, Johnny no longer needs that level of care. He is able to participate in community events such as plays, ice skating lessons and camps away from home – a reality that seemed impossible just a couple years ago.

“Our school’s strength is about working through barriers so the student can be their best self,” Karrie said. “Johnny has progressed so much that he is ready for a less restrictive environment and maybe could even go to a traditional high school. We don’t expect him to still be here in the next two years.”

While Johnny is nearing the end of his journey at Little City’s school, Evan’s is just beginning. Though Evan is on the cusp of turning a corner, he is already a year older than Johnny and the window to achieve new breakthroughs and reach new milestones is now.

“He is away from home for the first time and when he gets consumed by behaviors, it can be hard to see the light,” Karrie said. “But we can already see changes. He is very smart and very likable. We will see a lot of his challenges go away as he continues to learn how to communicate.”

Because of your compassion, we are asking for your help. Evan is one of the many young people we care for at Little City. But with the cost per student running from $60,000 to $90,000 a year, we cannot hope to help Evan and the others as we should.

But your gift along with the gifts of others will provide Evan and his friends here at Little City the chance for a better life. Please give as much as you can today. It will make such a difference.

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"There are so many capable and caring staff at Little City, past and present, who have helped Clifford. He has made a lot of progress in mastering his behavior."

Colleen, Mother of a child living in a ChildBridge Group Home