6  |  HANNA BOYS CENTER 2016 ANNUAL REPORT  |  7 I grew up as an Army brat. I started saying ‘sir’ and ‘ma’am’ long before I got to Hanna. We moved a lot so the first place I remember was South Carolina when I was seven. I went to a fancy prep school there, but I didn’t fit in at all. When I was ten, we moved to Alabama. I didn’t really like that school either. I was socially awkward and fidgety, so I got bullied and didn’t make any good friends till I was in 7th grade. I ended up fighting a lot and getting in trouble so when my uncle told me about Hanna (he had a friend who worked here), I decided to apply. I came to Hanna in 2014 as an 8th grader. It was hard at first. I was still awkward and got picked on. I didn’t know how to fit in and I was so far from home. But by 9th grade, life got better. I started making friends and got involved in school activities. Soon I was making As and Bs and on the honor roll. But that was just the beginning. The following summer I lost 100 pounds. It changed everything — how I thought about myself, how other people saw me (my mom didn’t even recognize me at first). Suddenly I had tons of confidence and I could see that nothing was impossible. I’m a sophomore now and I really like it here at Hanna. Oh, it’s hard sometimes, but you have to break through the bad to get to the good. Yes, I miss my family — since they’re so far away, I don’t go home as often as the other boys — but I know that right now I need to be here more than I need to be home. I have a job in Hanna’s IT department helping to set up computers, fix phone problems, things like that. I’m kind of an “IT 9-1-1.” I love it because I have a lot of responsibility and am learning things I didn’t know before. During the summer, I got to set up like 100 computers. I plan to go to college after I graduate. My ultimate goal is to work at Google. So what’s special about Hanna? It isn’t just “one size fits all,” like at the other schools I went to. They work with you to create your own program, including your treatment plan, your teachers, even the jobs you pursue. If you’re willing to put in the time and effort, the staff is here to make it happen. If I had to sum up everything at Hanna so far, I would say that they help me turn my problems into something positive. Everyone cares about me, and that’s something I didn’t always feel before. I know I wouldn’t be who I am today if it wasn’t for Hanna. HANNA BOY JACK “I know I wouldn’t be who I am today if it wasn’t for Hanna.”