Success Stories From Actual Students
The dramatic transformation that so many of our students experience and achieve during enrollment in a Premier school is nothing short of miraculous. Here are but a few of thousands of success stories:
I remember my first day like it was yesterday. My Family Leader, at the time, was Jake. Jake was talking to me and telling me a little bit about the program and what to expect there. At first I was shocked at the expectations and the time frame I thought I was looking at being there. Some students told me that I could wait it out, till I turned eighteen, or I could learn something beneficial for my life and my family’s life. After taking a long look at my life and my relationships back home, I knew it was time for a change. I began working the very next day. I was taking every chance I got presented to me, and learning every bit of information I could. The program gave me the opportunity to do something with my life. It was all up to me to make the change. It’s all about how hard you work. I can honestly say that I made some of the best friends of my life there. I know I will be challenged at home, but life wouldn’t be exciting without the unexpected struggles. I have confidence in myself and what I can do. I am just so happy with the person I have found within myself. It is the REAL ME, and I’ll go to any lengths to stay true to myself.
I remember looking up to the first set of upper status students, and I never thought I would be there. I didn’t believe in myself. I spent a long time sitting around waiting for a miracle. Then one day I found out what the miracle was . . . it was me! That’s when I really started doing well. I started to deal with the issues that held me back in my life and in the program. I started to set long term goals for myself. I am firm in the program. I know how hard it is for a parent to put their kids here, but you have to compare time needed for the hard work with a lifetime of happiness or a lifetime of pain. It’s hard when we know we have to graduate the program, but it is the best thing. I now see the rewards of having a clean and good life. Parents need to grow as we do. The best way to a great relationship is through honesty and integrity. Strength is the key element to graduating this program. I have learned to become a lot stronger with myself and be honest. That’s what has assisted me in my journey.
When I entered the program I was 17 years old, and have since turned 18. From my first month I began working on my anger issues. I dealt with issues about not feeling wanted or loved. I have worked hard, showing a strong commitment to working and finishing the program. Through my program I have built relationships with both my parents and relationships that were not there before. I did this by showing an unconditional love for my family, for I was too prideful to show this before becoming open and honest with my parents and myself. Now, I can truthfully look in the mirror and say to myself the three most important words, “I LOVE YOU!” I have come so far and completed so many things. More that I had ever dreamed. The staff is phenomenal. They are always willing to assist me and take time to sit down with me, no matter what time it is. There are times I have been very down, and they have always shown a caring compassion. There’s always a hug or pat on the back when you need one.
I graduated from the program a few years ago. I am now 21 years old and recently graduated cum laude from San Jose State University in Behavioral Science and Psychology. I also made the Dean’s Scholar list while at SJSU. I am grateful to my family for funding my education, allowing me to return home, and tolerating my sloppy room. I enjoyed living with them this past year. Many staff members continued to offer their support following my graduation from the program. What I gained from the program prepared me academically and emotionally to succeed in life. I learned to discipline myself, fulfill responsibilities, and set and attain goals. The seminars were especially helpful. They assisted me in my transformation from a depressed, angry, convicted felon into a free, special, powerful, and loving young woman. My friends today are incredulous when I describe my teenage years to them. It seems as if it were all just a bad dream now. Again, I am thankful to everyone who has supported my interesting journey.
My trouble began in seventh grade, when I started smoking cigarettes. Those cigarettes let me think drinking was OK, then pot, then sex . . . all at 13. Yet, those were not the real issues. The real problems were happening in my family. We never talked. We did yell and we ignored each other, but we didn’t talk. I have come to understand that we were all hurting really bad inside for love, but instead we just pushed each other away. I entered the program when I was 15 years old. The staff were very loving and helpful. I learned a whole lot about life in beautiful, downtown Laver kin. The program gave me a gift that I couldn’t give myself: a new chance at my life. With that chance, I made new choices, and I learned to love myself. I learned to be self-confident and trusting. To give to myself. To give, and not take from others. As for my family, we are doing awesome. We talk all the time, my parents are my best friends. I go to them with hard decisions, with my problems. And the weirdest thing happens . . . we actually TALK. It’s so great. If there was one thing I could say to parents, I would say, “Don’t wait. There is no message in the world that is more powerful than the message that your parents love you enough to want more for you than you want for yourself. ”
Never once did I think I would ever graduate high school. Let alone, ahead of my own class. I was too far behind in school to ever get back on track, or so I thought. When I first entered the program, I planned on only getting my GED and dropping out of any further educational plans. But I eventually made a choice I will never forget. One that has not only improved my life, but saved it from destruction. I had just completed a seminar when I realized I could achieve more, and that I deserved more then I had been giving up on myself until then. I talked to my teacher and made a commitment that I have never forgotten, and then went on to graduate high school. I also made the decision that I wanted to go on to college and eventually to medical school. I am now enrolled in a university pursuing a pre-med degree. If it weren’t for the support that I have been given, I would not be here today. Sometimes a helping hand is just what is needed to lift someone up, and I got that in the program.
When I entered the program, I was a very quiet, timid fellow. I rarely talked because I was so scared about what others were going to think of me if I said something wrong. I was very lost and confused. I thought the cool thing to do was to sit and do nothing. Just wait it out until I turned eighteen. But as my eighteenth birthday approached I had some talks about whether I wanted to stay or not. I honestly felt that staying would be the best thing for my life. And it turned out to be just that. The reason I stayed after I turned 18 was so I could complete something positive for the first time in my life, and because I have learned to love changing! After that I became more accountable for my life. I learned to always keep learning and growing and use every moment to the fullest. In my leadership program in the upper levels I had some of the biggest learning experiences of my life, such as what to do in my free time. I have been through a lot, and the most important thing I have learned is I am in control of my life in every aspect. I am a Real, Free, Loving Young Man and Proud of it!
Before I entered the program I never really understood what the word GRATITUDE meant. I thought it was saying a meager thank you for a new pair of platforms. I was living in anger, depression, denial, excuses, and a lack of accountability. I tried to mentally and emotionally run away from everything that was causing me hurt. I didn’t believe that I was worth anything, and I didn’t want to work for my success. I had managed to destroy all trust and any hope of a relationship with my family or with myself. I felt like I had nothing to grasp hold of, and the scary part was that I didn’t care. Luckily I have a lot of people in my life that care about me, particularly my mom and dad. Even though they were struggling with their own stuff, they put it aside to try to help me in my life. They were there, no matter how hard I tried to push them away. No matter how hard I tried, they wouldn’t let me die. I got a second chance at life. Since then I’ve taken that opportunity and I’m building back my confidence, self love, the relationships with my parents and peers, and most important, my success. I learned that gratitude is not all the material gifts. It’s being sincerely thankful for my own life, a loving, supportive family, growing self-love and confidence, and being alive. I feel gratitude for all who have helped save my life.
I could only run so many times till I had to face myself. I went from one destructive choice to another. When I ran away and ended up on the streets my parents decided to intervene and send me to the program. Gradually I started to see glimpses of the beautiful little girl I used to be, waiting for me to find her again—the one who once played with Barbie dolls and laughed with her dad. The one who ran in the fields and caught grasshoppers. I get excited to learn in seminars and am anxious to go! I am 19 years old. I love my family so much. Not once have they given up on me, but have only given me life. I have met many people on this journey and I carry a part of them with me everywhere. Things are going great for me at home. I have begun college, and my goal is to become a Japanese interpreter. I attend my AA meetings and am involved in their activities. I am happier than I have ever been in my life. A very wise quote sums it up for me. “I never said it would be easy, just worth it. ”
Through months of ups and downs, confusion and clarity, support from staff and friends, and working through my feelings of raw guilt and shame, I am living once again! I moved from playing the victim, to learning to open up. With help I learned to deal with issues and surrender from my resistance I had held on to for so long. Through patience and self-evaluation I slowly started climbing my family ladder and building our relationship. I’m so grateful to have the program as a place for learning and growing, and for the help I got from people who care. Without this opportunity, I really think I would have created some horrible results for myself, even quite possibly death. I thank the program for the help and support, but most of all I acknowledge myself for utilizing the tools I have been shown and for being open to the help I was given. For now I see myself as a beautiful, powerful, and spiritual young lady.
At 17 I was skating on thin ice. I was suicidal and extremely depressed. I had been in two programs prior to this one, and nothing had changed. Together, my family and I made the decision to go enter the program. I knew that I was in too far and I wanted a way out. I knew that the day my father took me there was one of the worst days of his life. As a parent, he felt like a failure. But we all knew that my life was at stake. It turned out to be heaven-sent for me and my family. I have an inner peace and a feeling of self respect and confidence now I never had before. I turned 18 while I was in the program and chose to stay on my own free will. When I began the program I had maybe a 2. 0 GPA. By the time I completed the program I also graduated high school with not only a 3. 4 GPA, but I finally completed something in my life. The program teaches you about a word called ACCOUNTABILITY! The program is hard, and they do push us to move forward, but the feeling when you accomplish something is unmatched by anything else in the world. I have never met a more loving and dedicated group of people in my life than the staff that runs the program. Since I have been home and in the “real world” I have been still working to better myself and keep growing. I have struggles but that is what has made me stronger. I no longer live at home. It was a decision that my family and I thought would be the next step in the growing process. I needed to spread my wings and fly. I am currently working full time as a veterinary assistant. This fall I will be attending my second year at a state college. I will also be attending a community college to get my Emergency Medical Technician certification. I already have attained the first level. I hope to be a fully certified paramedic in the next two years. I will then continue to go to school to get my athletic training degree. I cannot remember ever being this excited about life. I can finally see the light and feel my dreams as reality. It is incredible to feel this close to all that I have worked so hard for. I look back on how I felt two years ago and I can’t even imagine hating myself and life that much. It is a way of life that I don’t ever care to go back to. The ultimate desire to succeed is for yourself and no one else. It is your life and you are the one that must live with your choices. I thank God everyday for the program and the strength to overcome the valley and climb all the mountains.
Do you suspect your child lies to you every time you ask them if they are on drugs?Do they stay out partying for days, never coming home?When weekly therapy and short term rehabs fail, it may be time for a different solution. About a year and half ago I was running away from home, fighting with my parents, experimenting with drugs and alcohol, cutting school and I was only 14 years old. My parents’ relationship was deteriorating, as well as my relationship with them. I felt alone and outcast from “regular” kids. So I sought out the crowd I knew would accept me…the “weird” crowd. Though I was just getting into all these things, my parents realized that more was going on with me than I let them see. Yes, they tried therapy and short term rehab but it just only fed into my beliefs about myself, that I was “crazy, different and hopeless. ” I’m glad my parents decided not to wait to send me, for I learned that there was hope for me and my family. Now we’re working through our problems. This program can work for others, just like me. It’s done a lot for me and my family. I’ve learned to accept myself and love who I am, and how to lead a successful and fulfilling life for myself. Before I couldn’t even let others love me. I pushed everyone away. Now I can love and be loved by others. I have learned to trust me and shut my brain up when I get stuck up there. I am a realist. I don’t need to do big things, or be loud. All I need to do is to trust myself. Someone once told me that there aren’t very many people who can just be calm and strong inside and be okay with that. I have learned I am one of those people. I am finally learning to just be free.
I’ve said it so many times to my parents that it might have lost its effect. But my parents, and the wonderful program staff, did indeed save my life. I know they couldn’t have done it without my efforts, but I definitely could not have done it without them. Everyone has a story, and here’s mine. I grew up in a good suburban family, with very caring parents. Around third grade is when I started getting into more and more trouble. Of course, it didn’t look like much, but over time it became more serious. By sixth grade I was already smoking cigarettes and had begun using pot, eventually becoming addicted. I cried and cried, night after night and vowed never to do drugs again. That lasted six months, till I could no longer say “no” to my friends. Of course, it didn’t start with my friends…it started with me…always does. By seventh grade I was using other drugs too and I kept getting into more trouble. Looking back to fourth grade was when running away from home and school began. The school was sick of me causing trouble. I even made teachers cry. I was full of anger and addictions. Though my parents had their suspicions, every time they had me drug tested, I found a way to pass it, using various methods. I consistently ran away every time things did not go my way, and I had my entire family afraid of me. The last time I ran away, the police found me and brought me to the station and then turned me back to my parents. That night was the last at home for a long time. My family had me escorted to the program. It was the only way to keep the police, myself and my entire family safe, for at that point, I knew no fear for any kind of authority. It was my parents’ last hope of getting their son back. To this day, I thank God and them for doing this. If I had been able to escape, I would have definitely ended my life soon. I am home now, and I’ve done great. I am in high school and I will be graduating soon. I am playing Varsity Football, running Varsity Track and very involved in my church youth group. I am a person that others can look up to now. I even chose to spend my summer working at one of the programs. It was wonderful to be there and have a way of showing my gratitude by giving back. Without these programs, I would most certainly not be here. I wouldn’t get to accomplish all these things that my family and I never thought would ever happen. You truly have helped me save my life.
Before the age of 12, I was a good kid. Then I was introduced to cigarettes, and from there my life went rapidly downhill. I stopped caring about what the important people in my life thought. I would leave for weeks, even months at a time. My parents did not know if I was dead or alive. They were more afraid for my life than I was. They placed me in local treatment centers five times, each time returning home and going back to the same self-destruction. Things spun out of control and my parents looked for other answers. Sending me away to the program was the hardest thing my parents ever had to do, but it was the greatest gift they could have ever given me. I have learned to love myself and have changed my entire life. I want parents to know about this program because IT WORKS! In the other programs I was put on meds and they expected that to make me better. In contrast, this program I dealt with the core of what was going on. This program was such a blessing to my family. Today, nearly three years since I graduated the program I have returned to work here. I have made it a purpose in my life to spread the peace, love, joy and forgiveness of my life to other struggling teens and families.