MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (7News) — Eighteen-year-old Benjamin Devereaux is doing well now, but two years ago he faced challenges at high school.
"Very quiet, introverted, didn't like anyone just very into myself," he told 7News.
Devereaux explained he felt anxious and depressed, which affected his attendance.
"I like stopped going to school for days and weeks on end," he shared.
A counselor recommended Devereaux look into a high school program called RAP: the Recovery and Academic Program.
"Our mission is to create a sober environment where students can work toward their academic and recovery goals," said Care Coordinator Maddie Ruppenthal.
RAP is free, runs five days a week from 10:30 am to 3:30 pm, and provides transportation, breakfast, and lunch.
There's even an afterschool program called The Landing.
A handful of employees from Sheppard Pratt Health System provide support; as well as four certified Montgomery County Public Schools teachers.
Students receive individualized academic instruction, relapse prevention, and recovery planning.
"We really cover a variety of topics from what addiction is, drug education to what do we do for self-care," Ruppenthal said.
Fifteen-year-old Dinangely Nunez has been enrolled in the program for five months and is overcoming her personal problems while improving her grades.
"The groups, they're always good, cause most of us can relate a lot to each other. The staff helps us, they kind of guide us through life," she stated.
"I'm a lot more confident in myself, I'm a lot more outgoing. I'm a lot more extroverted," Devereaux said.
Eleven high school students are currently enrolled in RAP but the program can accommodate 40 students.
Referrals come from MCPS, juvenile drug court, and non-profit organizations.