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West Ridge Academy | Taking Abused and Angry Children to Adulthood

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Uploaded on Apr 27, 2010

I'm Jane and Im twenty years old. I was the first girl to graduate from West Ridge Academy. My parents placed me in the program after years of outpatient counseling. My life was out of control and the choices I was making affected everyone around me. While at West Ridge Academy I learned a lot about myself. I learned that I can do anything I set my mind to. Before West Ridge Academy, I had no confidence in myself at all. I had low self esteem which stemmed from making bad choices. I feel like Ive gained confidence in myself and most importantly Ive gained my familys trust back and have a much better relationship with them. Im grateful that I was able to come here and feel like Ive been given a second chance in life.

Hi, my name is John and I attended West Ridge Academy from 1995 to June 2000. Prior to coming to West Ridge, I suffered from several years of abuse and neglect as a young child, including being burned. I still wear the burn scars on my chest from the abuse. I also suffered from an eating disorder and had little success in school. West Ridge contributed to the transformation in my life. I was able to succeed in school with the smaller class sizes and with the teachers who were able to get through to a youth with a variety of problems. I am able to function in society because the staff never gave up on me. The home parents and living with a foster family taught me how to accept love and allow myself to be loved. My life prior to West Ridge lacked this important piece of the puzzle. I served an LDS mission in Provo, Utah and I am currently living in Provo attending UVU. I sing in several choirs and volunteer to serve the disabled.

Hi, my name is John. I came to West Ridge Academy from a program in Michigan. I felt very frightened at that program, had little hope and was very depressed. My mom was in jail somewhere and my dad wanted nothing to do with me since his recent marriage. I was all alone and very down on myself. An LDS family from the area saw my struggles and sent me to West Ridge Academy. Since then, my life has turned around in so many ways. I have graduated from high school, earned my Eagle Scout Award, turned my thoughts from negative to positive, worked and saved over $3000. I am currently learning to drive and have recently joined the Army Reserves and will be training to be a dental assistant with a $20,000 signing bonus. Next year when I turn 19, I will be going on an LDS mission. I appreciate West Ridge for the guidance and support they have given me.

Parent Testimonials

From Mischief to Mission
Thursday, April 18, 2002

We adopted Matthew when he was 8 years old. Needless to say he came with a lot of baggage from past experiences. We could tell at once that it was going to be a difficult life with him. He caused a lot of problems in school, church, in the neighborhood, and in our home. We finally reached the point that we honestly wanted to overturn the adoption.

He was subsequently placed in several foster homes where the problems continued and in most cases escalated. Matt was finally placed in West Ridge Academy. There seemed little hope for a boy with so much anger and resentment inside. We as his family had very little to do with him at this point but there was always some association because we had also adopted his older sister.

Because of true commitment and refusal on the part of the people at West Ridge Academy to give up on him, he learned life's most valuable lessons.

One day he called and asked if he could come back into our family. We met with Matt and his case worker, Matt said that he had been in just about every kind of trouble one could imagine. One day he said to himself that his whole life he had tried things his own way and they didn't seem to be working. He wasn't happy and he had no family, he really had no life. What would happen if he tried doing things the Lord's way and was obedient? He said that was the beginning of a whole life change for him.

He was brought back into our family and eventually he came home to live. West Ridge Academy helped us make the adjustment. We are a unified family now and as of this writing he is serving a two-year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and will be home in a few months. We have gotten several letters and phone calls from the mission president and mom stating that he is a wonderful missionary and a delight to work with and have around.

There are no words to express the gratitude we feel as a family for the help he received at West Ridge Academy. It gives all new meaning to the words: "never give up on them, there is always hope". If it worked for Matt, it can work for anyone.

Joseph and Jan Carbone

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