Our son XXXXX has been at Whitmore Academy
for over 10 months. We are so deeply blessed by the genuine
changes and growth in his life.
Out of sheer
gratitude to Mark and Cheryl, we have written this letter
of recommendation from our hearts. I pray many other parents
will follow suite.
Berin and Lisa Gilfillan
---- Original Message ----
December 1, 2004
To Whom It May Concern:
Re: Whitmore Academy from Rev. Berin and Lisa Gilfillan
(parents of XXXXX)
Our son XXXXX has been at Whitmore Academy for over 10
months now. We adopted him from a Russian orphanage when
he was 11 years old. We missed 11 years of parenting and
this naturally resulted in certain behavioral issues in his
life. When he was 13 years old we put him in a lockdown program
in Missouri. The year was difficult for him but he made some
progress. He also had learned by that stage to speak English,
which helped greatly. When he was 16, we put him in a public
school for the first time. He ended up gravitating to the
wrong friends and soon began using over the counter drugs
and marijuana. He ran away from home and his life began descending
into an abyss. Because of his background, he was extremely
closed up and refused to share his feelings and emotions.
Knowing that a lockdown program would not work again for
him, we began researching the nation to find the most outstanding
program we could find.
During our investigation of different programs, we came
across an organization called Parents Universal Resource
Experts, PURE (www.helpyourteens.com). This group researches
programs all over the nation. Their number one recommended
program to us was Whitmore Academy. Based on their recommendations,
we enrolled our son at Whitmore.
During the past 10 months, we have been awed and blessed
to see the incredible progress our son has made. A few months
ago he wrote this in an email to another parent of a child
in the program:
"I have been here for almost 8 months and I can't believe
the progress that I have made in a very short time."
Our son XXXXX has made huge strides at Whitmore Academy.
He has broken the addictions over his life and he has started
to really express his feelings and beliefs for the first
time. XXXXX now expresses love and appreciation for us as
his parents in a genuine and real way. He has had open email
communication with us over the past 8 months without supervision
and has also spoken to us weekly on the phone. He has many
times shared his love and respect for Mark and Cheryl and
after 4 months at Whitmore, we gave him the open option to
return home. He instead chose to stay at Whitmore.
Whitmore has been a place of healing, help and hope for
XXXXX. I cannot tell you how much we as parents appreciate
all that Mark and Cheryl have done for our son. He has grown
to love horses and to love the outdoors. He has learned to
handle relationships in a safe family environment and he
has learned to become accountable for his actions. My wife
and I are strong evangelical Christian ministers but at no
point have we felt that XXXXX has had the Mormon religion
imposed upon him. He has been allowed to read the Bible and
his Judeo Christian values have been strengthened.
My wife and I will gladly stand in court and testify to
the value and blessing of the Whitmore program to our family.
I spoke to my son today and he spoke of how the police had
come in to forcibly remove one of the kids from the program.
He said the way it was handled was traumatic to him and to
all the kids in the program. We believe this investigation
is a witch-hunt. If it needs to be done, let it be done in
a way that is respectful, professional and impartial. I believe
the facts will speak for themselves that the program Mark
and Cheryl run is certainly one of the finest of its kind
in the nation. We certainly are enormously grateful that
it has been there for our son and we will fight to see it
there for many other families who need the same kind of help
that we have received.
Rev. Dr. Berin Gilfillan
Copyright © 2004,
Woodbury Reports, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
(This article may not be reproduced without written approval
of the publisher.)
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