Meet Charlie Sage, One of Our Amazing Clients at NewBridge
Monday, August 02, 2021
“I discovered I didn’t have to be stuck on the hook of my old story. NewBridge gave me the confidence to be a student, and now, I am a student of life, for life.”
Charlie Sage returned home one day to find her father had destroyed her belongings: clothing, photos, trophies from years of playing competitive softball. Anger, fear and shame enveloped her.
Sage lived with her father since her parents’ divorce when she was 3, and at age 14 had been happy to move across the country with him to pursue acting and writing in Los Angeles. Their life, however, was far from a California dream: they relocated frequently and suddenly. Sage dropped out of high school, and fabricated stories to hide embarrassment over her circumstances.
“My friends called me out,” she said. “I’d felt a need to lie, but this was my wakeup call; it made me examine my life.”
NewBridge Jobs Plus
At age 18, Sage returned to New Jersey. Her mother urged her to enroll in NewBridge Jobs Plus, NewBridge Services’ alternative education and career program. “I’d been out of school so long, I thought, ‘I can’t do that,’ but the people at NewBridge taught me I could!” she said.
Sage completed the coursework in the fall of 2017, earning her New Jersey high school diploma and creating a plan for her future. “I felt guided and supported. I had such a different self-image,” she said. “The people at NewBridge helped me see that I’m more than the first negative thing I think.”
The day after her 19th birthday, Sage landed a dream job as a Soul Cycle instructor, an opportunity that took her to Miami, California New York and Philadelphia over 2 ½ years. She also started a mat-based fitness business called Project Align, and trained as a life coach to help others recover from trauma. Both her businesses are going strong. “I feel it’s something the universe brought me into,” she said.
In the spring, she marveled at how far she’s come as she made a deposit at the bank. She looked up and saw she was near the NewBridge center in Parsippany, and drove over. “I felt so emotional. I needed to go say thank you,” the 22-year-old said.
She’s grateful for all the experiences, good and bad, because they have fueled her growth. “I discovered I didn’t have to be stuck on the hook of my old story,” Sage said. “NewBridge gave me the confidence to be a student, and now, I am a student of life, for life.”