Jake Leary, a proud Mountain Valley graduate, departed Monday having successfully completed a one-week internship here with us in Pike.  Jake contacted us in May to propose the internship, and we were thrilled to welcome him back to serve as a mentor – and an inspiration – for our current residents.  When asked why he wanted to return, Jake was quick to respond that “Mountain Valley has done so much for me, and this is an opportunity to give something back.”

Jake’s story is a familiar one.  As a school and social avoidant 13 year old, he had not stepped into a classroom in over three months. A perfectionist, Jake’s anxiety had spiked when teachers made mention of the need to earn high grades should he want to attend a competitive college – and the thought of taking the New York State Regents Examination overwhelmed him.  Working with an educational consultant, the Learys initially tried some day programs to help Jake with his issues, and even considered a wilderness therapy program – not the place, joked Jake, “for an overweight, anxious teenager!”  Then Jake and his parents were introduced to Mountain Valley.

Jake admits that, despite MVTC’s welcoming introduction, his initial reaction to going to a residential treatment center was negative.  Thankfully, his mother was convinced that MVTC could be helpful, and Jake, “silently aggravated,” agreed to make the trip to New Hampshire.  In a TRACKS session one afternoon, Jake shared with the current Mountain Valley residents that he was “miserable” during his first two week at Mountain Valley, and called his parents every night demanding to come home – but his mother “stayed strong,” and refused to come get him.

Jake was a resident at MVTC for 60 days, and is quick to tell any and all that his time here was transformational.  He returned home to his local high school ready to face inevitable challenges in a “logical” manner using skills he learned at Mountain Valley.  As a matter of fact, Jake still refers to his MVTC Group Therapy binder whenever he needs a refresher!

Now 3″ taller and 50 pounds lighter than when he was as a Mountain Valley resident, Jake looks forward to his senior year of  high school and confidently facing the challenges of a rigorous program of study coupled with the excitement of the college application process.  And while he has his sights set on a career in creative writing, perhaps he will return again someday to Mountain Valley, to inspire yet another generation of MVTC residents.