Marcus Hamaker
Abundant Life Academy
St. George, UT

Abundant Life Academy, a Christian Therapeutic Boarding school, recently announced various improvements to its program and leadership that will help it revamp its mission to transform lives and restore families.

The therapeutic boarding school, which has been in operation since 2000 and helped hundreds of struggling teens and families, has implemented a Board of Directors. Paul Branning assumed the Chairman of the Board position after purchasing the school just over a year ago. Mr. Branning, a native of New Jersey, is the parent of a former ALA student, and also spent years in various youth ministry positions.

“My goal for Abundant Life Academy,” says Branning, “is that it would equip each one of its students with the tools they need to succeed and thrive – in relationships, in communication, and above all, spiritually, through a restored personal relationship with Jesus Christ.”

Mr. Branning would like to see the school move to a larger facility that will allow for overall growth and even more support and mentorship in the form of aftercare programs and various other therapeutic and ministry program components.
Passionate about helping youth, Mr. Branning feels today’s generation of kids face more hardships than ever. “Everything is ‘instant’ in today’s society,” says Branning. “Kids have challenges today that are far beyond what was experienced in the past – the challenges are tremendous for these kids.”
Continues Branning, “ALA is at the forefront of the industry to help because of everything we offer- Parent Coaching, dedicated Parent Advocates, Family Restoration, Aftercare, Traditional Therapy, Braincore Therapy, Celebrate Recovery, Equine Therapy, Athletics and Mercy Mission trips.”
The school is also transitioning into a 501 c-3 Not for Profit organization, which will allow for better scholarship and grant funding and improved overall fundraising ability.

The “New” ALA has also implemented various changes in leadership, with Marcus Hamaker as Head of School, Jerome Eason as Program & Athletics Director, Rhiannon McNeill as Principal, and the addition of a contracted clinical psychologist, Dr. Daniel Sanderson, who conducts individualized therapy with students.

“From enrollment all the way through aftercare, our goal is to provide a streamlined, comprehensive program that seamlessly integrates quality academics with thorough therapeutic and spiritual care, “says Hamaker. “What holds all the pieces together is the Family Restoration component at ALA. We believe family relationships can be restored by the abundant love and grace of Jesus Christ. The new leadership we have, both in the therapeutic avenues and school-wide, have us well-positioned to carry out this ministry, and we have been seeing wonderful progress in students based on these changes.”

Abundant Life Academy strives to provide a faith-based, restorative solution for teens struggling with anger, rebellion, depression, and addiction.