At age 11, Matt Arterbury was a very angry boy with some very serious problems. To live with Matt required a good fire extinguisher and a catcher's mask. "I set lots of things on fire," he said, "but mostly it was throwing. I threw plates, trays, tools, toys...anything I could get my hands on I would throw it at somebody."
Matt was one of the first wave of children to come to Gillis multi-prescribed on several very serious medications. He remembers prolonged daily battles with the nursing staff over taking his meds. "I gave them heck," he said. "I was a nightmare for that nurse every single day. I threw so many things at that nurse...But eventually, you know, being here, I got better."
Recently Matt returned to Gillis. He didn't come for a rematch with the nurse. In fact, he's no longer on any medications whatsoever. Matt has graduated from high school, has a driver's license, and will soon matriculate from the Job Corps Cement Masonry program. "Most people wouldn't have thought I could do any of those things, but at Gillis they told me I was smart. The staff here, certain people, they were determined, and they were the inspiration I had to better myself."
On Matt's visit he was greeted with big smiles and hugs from several staff members who still remembered him. Staci Hughes, long-time PE instructor at Gillis said, "It just feels so good to see them later and know that we made a difference."
So what's next for Matt?
"Good job lined up, but now I want to volunteer for Gillis if I can. I want to help this place that helped me."