Taken from his family at eight years old, Joshua grew up in foster homes and residential programs. “I can tell you what I think a family should be, but I’ve never had it - I grew up in the system,” says Josh, now 22. “My mom and my family all got high. That’s just how it was. With no structure in my life, I was involved with gangs and using and selling marijuana by the time I was 12.”

“I’ve never had a birthday cake. It was just another day, same as Christmas. I’ve never had a Christmas present given to me,” he continues, “When I hit rock bottom with heroin, I was sleeping in abandoned cars in the middle of winter. I was so sick I wound up in the hospital. They said one more night in that car and I wouldn’t have woken up.”

“I’m doing good now. I volunteer a lot in the community, and one of my volunteer jobs is becoming a paid internship,” says Josh.  “I’m shaking hands with state senators -- with the sheriff. I never thought I’d be doing this,” says Josh, very proudly. “I feel good about myself today because I’m not selfish...it’s not all about me. It feels good to give something back.”

Besides his sobriety, Josh also has his eight-year-old daughter back in his life. “I want a different future for her,” he says, and adds, “Life is hard, but it is what you make of it.”


As touching as Josh's story is, he is just one of the bright lights among the 15 young adults at Spectrum's Leicester House. When you meet Josh, he radiates exuberance and positivity. It is hard to believe his addiction took him to a point where freezing to death in an abandoned car on a cold winter night was a real possibility.
When you talk to the other young men at this residential treatment program, however, the stories are all similar. Each of them came to a point where the flame representing their life was nearly extinguished.
Your generosity and compassion keeps these candles lit. Last year, more than 45,000 individuals and families were supported in their recovery from substance abuse by Spectrum, and Josh's story describes just a small part of the continuum of care that we provide to those in need.  Whatever the amount, we rely on your donation to provide the people who want to make the best of their lives and shine their brightest with the best, most effective treatment possible.

If you're interested in making a secure online donation please click here, or please send checks to:
Spectrum Health Systems
10 Mechanic Street
Suite 302
Worcester, MA 01608

I hope that your holidays are as warm and bright as Josh and his daughter's will be this year!



Charles J. Faris
President & CEO

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