Our goal with every teen girl who comes to Sunrise is to help her become a confident, healthy, and independent young woman. We know that each girl’s journey will be different, so while we have a clear, research-based system for helping girls acquire the life skills they’ll need to be successful, we have built flexibility into that system. As a result, we’re able to meet each girl right where she is and move at a pace that’s appropriate for her.
Our level system is based on the notion that personal growth is like building a house – even though the goal is to put a roof over your head, you can’t start with the roof! You must start at the ground level, building a foundation that can bear the weight of what’s to follow. For girls in a personal growth process, learning healthy life skills means starting with the foundation of safety, moving into self understanding, becoming part of a community, and finally building the skills necessary for independence. Our location in the community allows us to complement a girl’s progress through the level system with direct experience.
Our location in a manageable and supportive town near a major national park gives us access to experiences ranging from volunteering to grocery shopping to camping to working. Even going out for a wholesome night on the town for dinner and a movie can provide fun and highly valuable opportunities to apply new life skills in an authentic setting. Work and volunteering experiences allow teen girls to apply what they’re learning to workplace relationships and responsibilities, where the stakes are high! In the experiential part of our program we do not shield girls from failure; instead, we use the bumps and setbacks of real experience to shepherd them toward success.
As with all aspects of the Sunrise program, we emphasize balance in our Life Skills Program. Girls learn to reflect, to connect, to learn, to play, and to work. All aspects of a healthy life are emphasized equally, and we focus not only on repairing weakness, but on finding and maximizing each girl’s unique set of strengths – which are often well hidden at the start of the healing process!